How do you handle educational disputes with your ex?

One area of conflict for many ex-spouses is their child's education. In the past, usually only one spouse had primary custody -- which meant that he or she usually had final say over any educational choices for the children.

In today's world, shared parenting is often the norm, which means that neither parent can make unilateral decisions about the education of the children. These are some basic facts that you need to keep in mind:

1. If you and your ex-spouse live in two different school districts and you have relatively equal shared custody, you have to agree on which school district he or she will attend. If you can't agree, you may have to ask the school system to decide or ask the court to decide.

2. If you want your child to attend an accredited online school or you want to home-school, you have to have your ex-spouse's consent. This is often hotly debated between ex-spouses -- the spouse against the online school or home-school is usually concerned about the child's social development. If you want to make a good case for the online school or home-schooling, be prepared to show the judge how you will make certain that your child gets enough social time.

3. If your ex has shared custody, it's important to remember that he or she can pick the kids up from school or take them out of class -- just like you can. If you want to be notified if this happens, talk to your school's office staff to see if they will do so.

4. Your ex-spouse should be notified of all important school events and has a right to attend them -- especially if there's an issue and a meeting with administration that could affect your child's future schooling. Make certain that you pass along the information so that you don't end up violating the court's custody order.

5. If your ex is not complying with the school's regulations, including the attendance policy (by not taking the kids, getting them ready in time or generally not caring if they attend or not), that's a good reason to head back into court and ask for modification of the custody arrangement. Judges frown on parents who don't take their children's education seriously.

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