Imagine this situation: you are divorced and you share parental responsibilities with your ex-spouse, including educational responsibilities. The catch is this: you both want your child to attend a different school in Orlando. Your intentions are both probably admirable because there's no doubt either of you does not want the best education for your child. And yet, there's a dispute on what that "best education" looks like.
If the dispute is taken to court, the court will look at specific factors to determine which school is in the best interests of your child. So, knowing what the court will consider first may help you and your ex-spouse come to a decision without the interference of the court. Here is an overview of the many factors the court considers in terms of a child's school.
A Florida court will consider the child's wishes.
A child has a say in his or her education, but it is not the final say. The child can express where she wants to attend school and provide reasons for or against any school. The older the child is the more weight his or her opinion will carry.
A Florida court will consider the parents' preferences.
The preferences of the parents are just as important. Each parent will have an opportunity to provide the court with his or her arguments for or against any school. As such, you may want to review with your attorney important elements of your arguments to make sure they are persuasive.
A Florida court will consider the child's educational needs and any medical concerns or special needs.
The court will want to know what your child's educational needs are and how the current school meets those needs. Is your child behind? Is your child exceptionally smart? Either of these two factors will impact the importance that a school meets your child's needs. The court will also consider how the current school compares to the parent's preferred school.
A Florida court will consider the child's relationship with the current school.
Your child's performance and relationship with the current school is important. Maybe the child has only been there for less than a year. Maybe the child has problems with other students or a teacher that makes attending school difficult. Maybe the school hasn't addressed any of the child's (or the parent's) concerns. Maybe because of these things, the child is under-performing. On the other hand, maybe the child has great relationships at the school and is performing well.
These things and others will be important, especially considering how the child's relationship may differ from another school more or less suited for him or her.
A Florida court will consider teacher qualifications at both schools.
Florida courts will want to know the qualifications of the teachers at both schools. If one is clearly above or below average, that may have a significant impact on the judge's decision. But if the qualifications are comparable than this factor becomes less significant. But sometimes it is not the educational qualifications but the training in certain areas of education that may also matter.
At Veliz Katz Law, we understand how education is such an important part of a child's life. It is no wonder parents will fight and even go to court to make sure their child receives the best education the parents can offer. Contact us online or call us at 407-849-7072 if you are in the middle of a child custody dispute, like one involving education, and let us help you make informed educational decisions that are in your child's best interests.