It used to be that the children would attend a school that was in the neighborhood of the parent who had the children for parenting time a majority of the time. In this day and age, however, more and more children are dividing their time equally between the parents, so there often isn’t a “primary residential parent.”
It makes some sense for parents who are divorcing, or who are getting orders in an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities case (for parents who were not married to each other), to make an agreement about resolving disputes concerning what schools their children will attend. A Parenting Plan may state something along these lines:
If there is a disagreement about the school the children will attend, the parents will attempt to resolve the disputes themselves. If they cannot agree, then they will attend mediation. If there is no agreement in mediation, the parents may have a hearing at which they ask the District Court to resolve the issue. Prior to the resolution of the issue by the District Court, the children shall remain in the school they have been attending.
Switching schools often is a bad experience for many children. They experience feelings of loss, have trouble making new friends and may become depressed and/or anxious. Parents who have changed the children’s school should watch for symptoms of depression or anxiety on the part of their children. Sometimes, it may make sense for one or both parents to drive the children back to their “old” school where they know the other children and the faculty. When children are experiencing mental health symptoms (depression or anxiety), the parents may need to obtain counseling for the children.
In some cases when parents ask the Court to resolve the school issue, the Court will appoint a Child and Family Investigator to investigate and make recommendations to the Judge about what school the child or children should attend. The children’s wishes generally are taken into account, both by the CFI and by the Judge in selecting a school.