Parents do not always agree on childrearing. When parents are divorced, those disagreements can cause a great deal of stress as the parents struggle to find common ground. One of these areas might be the educational decisions they make on behalf of the children they share. California law stipulates mandatory school attendance for all the state's residents until the age of 18. Beyond attendance, there are no state guidelines regarding the type of education parents must provide. It is advisable for divorcing parents to address educational issues in mediation while creating their parenting agreement.


While parents might agree that their children need to attend school, the issue of what type of school they go to might be an area of dispute:

  • Parochial education - Parents with two different religions might not agree on the value of a religious education and social environment.
  • Private versus public school - Parents might disagree about the financial burden of private school or the philosophical value of public education.
  • Homeschooling - California law is silent on this subject, but many parents are strongly in favor of such an arrangement.
  • Special needs - Parents might disagree about the value of putting a child into a special education program instead of mainstreaming the child into a regular class.

One parent might wish to relocate the child to a certain school district with the belief that it is superior. The court has the discretion to grant the parent's request based on the choice of school alone.

Children can benefit greatly from a warm, supportive school environment in the aftermath of their parents' divorce. If parents are not able to reach an agreement regarding school attendance, a judge can make a determination for them. If attendance at a specific school is in the best interest of the child, the court is likely to rule in favor of it, even if the other parents are opposed.

If you require assistance with creating, revising or enforcing your parenting plan, our family law attorneys can provide valuable advice.

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