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Does Changing Schools Qualify for a Child Custody Modification in Florida?


Kids may already be back to school after enjoying a long break, but it doesn’t mean they will always be back at the same school. Some kids are moving up to a new school for higher grade levels, while other kids may be looking at a mid-year or fall start at a completely different school across town or in another city. No matter whether it’s a new grade level or relocation that is driving the change in schools, it can mean big changes on a personal level too. This can involve scheduling changes and, in some cases, new Florida custody plans.

One example is when a child moves up to high school from middle school. There may be a different start time, which can require an earlier drop off or different transportation requirements than in years past. Or, maybe your child is now involved with a lot of extra-curricular activities that creates a conflict with pick-up times in the afternoon. If the parent who was primarily responsible for school transportation now has a conflict, the custody plan may need to be altered.

Sharing Custody and Residing in Different School Districts

Where things can get challenging is when parents share custody but reside in different school districts. Depending on the agreement, the child may stay at the same school or be moving to a different one. When one parent was awarded sole legal and physical custody, he or she will be the one who makes all the decisions regarding school. When both parents have joint custody and are in the same district, the child likely stays at the same school until it’s time to graduate and move to a higher-grade level.

When parents don’t live in the same place, coming up with an agreement can be more challenging. The idea is to find what works best for the child, despite the fact that it might inconvenience one or both of the parents. If a dispute arises after the agreement is already in place, it will require a judge to intervene and make a decision on whether the child can change school districts.

It’s imperative to bring disputes to the court’s attention right away if you can’t reach an agreement between yourselves. Delaying the topic could mean your child cannot switch schools the following year. It’s tempting to want to delay the conversation until summertime or another long school break, but this only serves to disrupt your child’s life even further.

Does Your Child Have a Say in Their Schooling?

Depending on your child’s age, the court may look to get their input on the matter. Typically, your child needs to be at least 14 years old before the court will give his or her opinion any weight. Courts look very closely at the reasons a child wants to go to one school over another to see if the motivation for their answer is because they worry about upsetting one parent over the other.

Contact a Florida Child Custody Attorney Today

If you need to have a custody agreement altered for a major reason like a change in school districts, it’s important to contact a Boca Raton child custody attorney as soon as possible to start the process. Contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today to schedule an initial consultation.


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