Who Decides Where The Kids Will Go to School?

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Thursday June 9th, 2022.

Who Decides Where The Kids Will Go to School?

School-age children are required to get an education in a public, private, or home school setting. If a child attends a public school, the residential living area determines where the child will attend. However, knowing where the kids will attend school becomes slightly more complicated if you and your spouse are divorced.

If one parent has custody of the child for the majority of the time, the kid will most likely attend school in that parent’s school district. However, if both parents share 50/50 custody, a decision must be made. 

If you and the other parent cannot reach an amicable decision on where your child should attend school, you may need to seek legal assistance. A skilled child custody attorney can help, especially if the court will be involved in the decision.

Factors the court will consider:

  • if the parent exhibits school system knowledge and has looked into the alternatives
  • if the custodial parent shows cooperation with the non-custodial parent in decision-making processes
  • the logistics of getting the children back and forth to school 
  • the ability to express the reasons why the school is the best choice for the child

What If I Am Left Out of School Decisions?

You can give the court order showing your parental rights to the school. The teachers and administration must involve you if you have a court order that provides you access to your child’s school information and gives you decision-making power.

Will the School Correspond with Both Parents?

In most cases, it is the responsibility of each parent to contact the school and establish communication channels. The custodial parent is not responsible for ensuring the non-custodial parent is kept informed.

Does the Non-custodial Parent Have to be Listed as an Emergency Contact?

When one parent has sole physical and legal custody, the other parent does not have to be listed as an emergency contact unless the court order mandates otherwise. 

If you and your former partner need assistance making school decisions for your children, you should consult with an attorney that is well-versed in these decisions. Making decisions regarding schooling should be handled efficiently in order to have the most negligible negative impact on the children.

Mistakes Parents Make When Naming Guardians

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Thursday June 9th 2022.

When putting together your will, one thing that must decide if you are a parent is what happens to your children should the worst happen to you and your partner. Your estate is one thing, but the well-being of your children is quite another! Should you become incapacitated, pass away, or otherwise unable to provide for your minor children, your will should include the names of suitable legal guardians you have chosen to care for them.

While it is a difficult thing to consider for any parent, the importance of the task makes it one of the more significant life decisions. Before naming a guardian, consider these mistakes many parents make.

Naming a Couple 

Some parents name a couple to raise their children if a guardian becomes necessary. However, what if you don’t want both members of the couple to raise your children? It is important to specify your wishes for your children’s guardianship should the couple be broken up or one of them passed away. 

Failing to Prepare for Short Term Needs

It is good to appoint short-term guardians to look after your child until your long-term guardian can take custody. An interim guardian, such as a nanny or trusted neighbor, can temporarily assume guardianship of your child and offer immediate care in the event of an emergency. If the police are contacted, and you don’t have temporary guardians, your child may be taken from your house and placed in protective custody.

Documenting Too Few Details

Everyone has different views on how children should be raised. Do you have a school in mind for your children? What about a particular diet? Religious beliefs? Your appointed guardian should respect your wishes as a parent, but they can’t respect them if they don’t know what they are.

Not Appointing a Financial Guardian

Often, parents forget to designate someone to manage the money they are leaving behind for the children. If you’re leaving money behind — which you should be, even if all you have is a life insurance policy — you should put it in trust for your children and appoint a trusted person to handle your children’s finances until they come of age.