What to do if you can’t agree about your children going back to school
What happens if you want to continue to home school your children, but your ex wants them back in school? In recent weeks we are hearing from parents about strong disagreements on this challenging subject.
If parents cannot agree arrangements for their child or children, an application can be made to the court for a remedy. Parents can also apply to court in relation to a Specific Issue, and the court can address the issue of whether or not a child should return to school.
If parents cannot agree arrangements for their child or children, an application can be made to the court for a remedy. Parents can also apply to court for a Specific Issue Order and the court can address the issue of whether or not a child should return to school.
The court application
A Specific Issue Order is an order from the family court to resolve a particular issue in dispute in connection with a child and a Prohibited Steps Order is an order that limits when certain rights and duties can be exercised, such as making decisions about their education.
The court will take into account the parents’ opinions and the best interests of the children. The children’s educational development, efficient home -schooling techniques and underlying health issues in the family may all be considered by the court when deciding the issue.
The court’s guidance to promote an agreement
Before making an application to the court, parents should try and agree arrangements as much as they possibly can.
This court guidance promotes as much communication as possible between the parties to enable parents to consider the children’s best interests. Therefore, an application to court should only be made if there is no hope of an agreement regarding the children’s schooling and very much as a last resort.
The court’s ability to hear an urgent specific issue application
Unfortunately, because of the pandemic and the resultant backlog of cases, there is still little time for the courts to deal with these issues; even if the case is an urgent one, there is no guarantee that the court will be able to hear the case before the children are due to go back to school. This may leave parents in limbo and wondering what to do. Mediation can be an option to see if an agreement can be reached, but both parents must agree to that route, so seeking legal advice may assist them as they attempt to reach that agreement.
If you are unsure about what to do in relation to arrangements for your children, we would advise you to seek specialist independent legal advice from an experienced family lawyer.