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Can one parent decide to homeschool their children post-divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2023 | Child Custody

The decision to divorce typically indicates that parents no longer share all of the same values and priorities in life. Divorce usually results in a shared custody arrangement. Both parents will have an opportunity to spend time with the children regularly, and they will also both have to help them socially, emotionally and financially as they mature.

Changes in family circumstances and living arrangements may have implications for the children’s schooling. Can one parent choose to pull the kids out of the school they currently attend to begin homeschooling them after a California divorce?

Parents often need to agree on major changes

It is common practice for California family law judges to have parents share time with the children and legal custody or decision-making authority over the children. That shared authority typically means that parents can make decisions when they are with the children, should unusual situations arise.

After a car crash, for example, the parent with parenting time at the moment will be the one to determine where the children receive medical care immediately after the wreck. When it comes to longer-term decisions, the courts typically prefer to see parents cooperating with each other. Homeschooling has become increasingly popular in recent years, but it is a decision that can affect everything from a child’s social development to their college ambitions.

If one parent attempts to make a major decision about the lives of the children that the other parent or the children themselves believe will do more harm than good, then the family may need to go back to court. If one parent attempts to cut the other out of the decision-making process and takes steps that do not seem to be in the best interest of the children, the other parents can ask a family law judge to intervene either by reversing the choice that one parent made or by altering the division of decision-making authority to prevent similar issues from arising in the future.

For parents seeking to make a major decision, a discussion with their co-parent and a review of their parenting plan/custody order are often smart steps to take before making any drastic changes. In the event of a contentious situation, discussing recent parenting developments with a lawyer can help someone establish what steps they need to take to protect their children from the questionable choices of their co-parent.