School Choice After Divorce – How to Make It Work

School of the Arts in West Palm Beach

Parents going through a divorce should consider how educational decisions for their children will be made after the divorce is finalized.

The general framework for how educational decisions will be made for the children is provided under the label of parental responsibility.  The default rule in Florida divorce law is that the parents shall enjoy shared parental responsibility for the minor children.  This is a relationship where both parents retain full parental rights and confer with each other regarding major decisions affecting the welfare of the child.  The final decision as to where the child will attend school will be determined jointly.

In some instances, the parents do not see eye to eye as to the best available school for the child to attend when he or she is ready to start middle school or high school.  If the parties reach an impasse on this issue, the dispute may be presented to the court for resolution.

The test to be applied by the court in resolving the dispute is inherently and deliberately subjective and is defined as – “the best interests of the child”.  The reasoning behind this subjective measure is that all children are different.  A one size fits all objective test would not properly suit the needs of different children.  For example, one child may excel in the areas of math and science that provide her with an opportunity to attend the IB program at Suncoast high school.  While another child entering his high school years may excel in the arts and have an opportunity to attend the Dreyfoos School of the Arts.

Reviewing the school grades and finding that the child shall attend the school with the higher grade is a much simpler solution, if in fact the schools are not both graded the same, to resolve an educational dispute between the parents.  However, this solution fails to consider the unique background of the child, his or her reasonable preference and the educational and extracurricular activities that will best suit his or his needs.

The law firm you choose to guide you through divorce should match your goals for divorce.

About the Author

Chadwick Layton, Esq. Collaborative Divorce AttorneyChadwick M. Layton is a marital law and divorce attorney at Mindful Divorce, P.A. in Palm Beach County, FL.  Mr. Layton is also a member of the Florida Bar Family Law Section, the Susan B. Greenberg Family Law American Inn of Court of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach Flagler Rotary Club.

Mindful Divorce P.A.
205 Worth Ave. Suite 303
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Phone (561) 537-8227
Office E-Mail:

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