Schooling Considerations for Separated Parents
TGB’s family law teams outlines the important considerations for separated parents regarding their children’s education.
We often observe that a common source of complaint for separated parents concerns arrangements for their children’s education (or lack of arrangements, as the case may be).
The commencement of the school year provides a timely opportunity for parents to ensure that they have given proper consideration to the following when finalising their parenting arrangements:
1. Which school will the children attend?
Unless a Court orders to the contrary, both parents have joint parental responsibility for their children. This responsibility includes deciding which school their children will attend. If parents are unable to reach an agreement, one parent should not simply enroll the child/children without the other party’s consent – they should apply to the Court for appropriate Orders.
2. What are the living arrangements during the school terms and holidays?
This may sound obvious, but confusion and argument arises when these are not described in sufficient detail. Well documented arrangements should particularise precisely when and where (and in some cases, even how) changeover will occur during both school term and school holiday periods.
3. What about the movement of school items between households?
For example, it is important to establish whether each parent will have a separate school uniform at their respective household or whether the uniform will be shared.
4. Are both parents permitted to attend school events and participate in school activities?
Whilst parents are ordinarily at liberty to do so, caution should be taken when there is an Intervention Order or a Child Protection Order in place. The parent against whom such an Order is made should seek legal advice in advance to ensure that their attendance at the school is not in breach of a Court Order.
5. Has the school been provided with a copy of any written agreements or Court Orders with respect to parenting arrangements, and / or a copy of any Intervention Order or Child Protection Order?
Parents should ensure that the school has a copy of all relevant agreements and / or Orders pertaining to the children, so that school staff are aware of what arrangements are in place.
6. Are both parents entitled to receive all information from the school, such as reports and publications?
If unsure, an enquiry should be made with the school to determine whether authorisation from one parent (usually the enrolling parent) is required in order for the other to receive all school correspondence. If it is, then that authorisation should be expressly included in any written agreement or Court Order.
Of ultimate importance is the education of your child/children. Having these important questions answered will make life much easier for both you and your child/children and ensure their school experience is made easier.
For further information or assistance contact your nearest TGB office.