Communicating with your child’s other parent about schools
Parent often cannot agree over which school their child should attend.
If you are having those sorts of issues, the first thing to remember is that you need to plan to get an agreement, or a Court Order if necessary, in plenty of time before the child is due to start at the school.
This is the time of year that kids are getting ready to go to school again. It is a stressful yet exciting time, but even more stressful and upsetting for those kids whose parents are arguing about what school they should go to.
The key to avoiding disputes is to discuss your expectations with the other parent as soon as possible. In these times of shared parenting, it is inevitable that one parent may have to travel more than another. Choosing a school that is absolutely equal distance between the two homes is impossible usually.
Also there are parents who can’t agree on whether their child should attend a State School or a Private one, or even what religion the school should be. This is not something that can be decided on at the last minute. Kids need plenty of time to prepare themselves mentally for school, and they need to know which school they will be attending. If they hear parents arguing about whether one school is better than another, they may become anxious or even feel that one school may be bad for them. So get it out of the way the year before so you have time to get professional help through joint counselling, mediation or, if absolutely necessary, through the Courts.
We don’t usually recommend going to Court over something like school choice though, as it is a parenting choice really, and the Court should not be put in a position of choosing your child’s school. Of course the Court will if it has to, in order to give some certainty for the child, but the better option is for the parents to learn how to compromise and negotiate as a useful tool for navigating the other parenting decisions that they will have to make regularly for the child in the future.
Remember that Family Dispute Resolution is available to you and is, in fact compulsory before you bring any application to the Courts about your children.