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Ex is Changing My Daughter's School: Should I Be Consulted?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 13 Feb 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Ex Partner Child Responsibilty Rights

Q.

My wife, from whom I separated 20 months ago, has recently moved from the house she was renting in the same town as me to a town 11 miles away. I have just found out from my child that she is moving my 7-year-old daughter to a school in her new town from September.

Do I have any say in whether my child moves schools? We have informally agreed 50/50 shared custody of our four children and my daughter moving to this school will impact on my ability to have her to stay overnight Mon-Fri, and being able to take her to school. Many thanks for any advice you can give.

(P.W, 21 May 2009)

A.

When you separate from your partner there is always a tug of war about who can make decisions concerning your children's wellbeing. Finding out through your child that your ex is making an important decision without you is frustrating, and you probably feel like your opinions are not being taken into consideration. Not only has your ex moved your children further away, but now she is trying to change other important parts of their life.

It is unfair of your wife to make this decision without talking to you first, as you should be consulted about your child moving schools. As you were married to the mother of your child you will have legal responsibility for your child. This means that have a responsibility to provide for your child but also that you are entitled to a have a say in their upbringing and have a Right To Be Kept Informed Of Important Developments In Her Life.

Usually the distinction is that the resident parent has responsibility for everyday decisions, while the non-resident parent needs to be consulted about bigger decisions regarding their upbringing. Changing schools can be argued as an everyday decision or a major one, but either way, as you have Joint Custody your situation is a bit different as there is no one resident parent.

Although it is good to stay out of the courts, it may be better for you to formalize your custody agreement so that your rights can be recognized. As this decision will impact on your ability to care for your child it is a major one and you should be able to fight against it if you want to. Tell your wife about your concerns but, if she is unwilling to cooperate, it may be a good idea to consult your lawyer as you have a good legal case.

You do not say what your relationship with your wife is like but try talking to her (read our article on Developing An Amicable Relationship With Your Ex). You should not be hearing about things like this through your child and if you agree to joint custody, she has to realise that you need to be consulted about any decisions that she makes. Setting the ground rules now will help you both be clear about your rights and responsibilities as you move forward.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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@key.in my (personal experience )you don’t need permission .i don’t know about the (legal side off things) .I have never been informed or have even known the child’s whereabouts for over 11 years but I have NEVER a got legal advice .because. My situation is very different to most peoplei was never married and she was with my uncle for years why she lived in my house (freerent I might add two )and why he was plowing her I had to support her and her horses wtf (never again ).her child is her child’s i don’t want a say in anything .if the child wants to meet me she can come find me she is legal age now .
Chris - 13-Feb-20 @ 10:51 PM
I’ve move my child school Without telling my ex father we are not married but he has Prenatalresponsibilitywe have a court order but it doesn’t state I can’t move school I have inform him now of the new school and details but now saying I should by law told him before I move Is this true did I need his permission?
Key - 13-Feb-20 @ 9:02 PM
@worried.in reality the mother can move and change schools change child name as much as she wantsand there is (nothing) you can do about it.i no from (experience ).and the mother (doesn’t have to respond to you this is bye law) if she wants to cut you off she can and have you (charged for harassmentfor sending sms or trying to call ).and it’s doesn’t matter if you had a (close relationship with your daughter) in reality that is gone now (deal with it ).and I wouldn’t be going to the school like that .get a (solicitor )or just drop it and move on .
Chris - 26-Jan-20 @ 6:50 PM
@worried.so I (protect myself) now and have changed all my numbers .and have no communication at all with them .And don’t know there whereabouts which is (safe and smart) .its been that long now I wouldn’t even no what the (child looked like gods truth ).
Cec - 26-Jan-20 @ 5:37 PM
Hi I am the father of a 10 year old daughter. I went to court when She was one and gained court orders which progressed to 2 nights a week when She was two. Since then we have had a few mediation agreements drawn up and it has slowly progressed to where it is now 50/50. Whilst we have had disagreements everything was running smoothly and the plan was followed consistently. Two weeks ago when She was with Her Mother I was told by Her Mother She no longer wants to continue 50/50 and that my Daughter was too frightened to speak to me on the phone. It is a shock as the night before I had spoke to my daughter on the phone and She had agreed we would go to the Zoo together next visit. I have tried repeatedly to contact my daughter through her Mother to speak to Her. Her Mother rarely responds to SMSs or email. Nothing by Phone. Only once every few days saying She is not wanting to talk with me or see me. This is a repeat of the Mothers behavior before I got the Court Orders a long time ago. Only then it was to find out How She was or if I could see Her. I have had a mediator ring Her and She has refused Mediation so a certificate has been issued. I have approached the school and informed them I may visit my Daughter there when it starts again. They agreed that should not be a problem as they think I am a good parent. My worries are apart from the damage being done to my Daughter, that the Mother may change schools without my permission. It is a most distressing period for Me as I had a close relationship with my Daughter and I feel the same as if She has died and their has been no Funeral.
Worried - 26-Jan-20 @ 7:46 AM
Wife went away on holiday at Christmas time and said she is not returning back to marital home and moving two hour away. She said she has applied for school she has not discussed this me. I am very down as I have two children that are my world 5year has not been to school for a week whole week little one is 6month. We have been having marriage peoples on and off. She don't give me any control every time I do not do what she wants its always on her terms. She always blackmail she going to move back home with her parents that are 2 hours away.
Melody - 12-Jan-20 @ 6:33 PM
My child was adopted in the 80s.I would love to see him again before I die.his two older brothers would love to see him too.
Ro - 30-Oct-19 @ 10:59 AM
My ex took my son to live in America with her then husband.She has since moved back to the UK and divorced her husband.My son started school this year and she has enrolled him in school with her ex husband's surname.My son never had his name changed and has always gone by the name on his birth certificate,my surname.Do I have rights to change this?
Dan - 4-Oct-19 @ 6:05 PM
@holmes.she will come find you when she is[ ready ].stop stressing bro .i am in the same situation you will find [peace brother] like i did took me[ years] .now if i do see my daughter again great if not thats ok two .i just don't [care anymore] you will get to this stage trust me .
brickie - 24-Jul-19 @ 9:22 PM
hi i am trying to find my daughter i have not seen her since she was 2 years old she is now 19 and i have been trying to find her since her mum ran off with someone in the army . coming from a forces background i know they cant give out information on who lives on site i have tried facebook and all them kind of sites but i wouldnt even know what she looks like now am sure its not that little princess i knew . dose anyone have any ideas what i can do i was hoping she might come looking as well as i am on her birth certificate please help
holmes - 24-Jul-19 @ 2:39 PM
My daughter split up with her boyfriend 3 years ago and their son lives with her.She has since met a new boyfriend and has had another child with him. My daughter wishes to move to where her boyfriend is from 45 minutes up the road from where she is now due a a good job offer.A change of school will be required for her child with her ex.He originally agreed to the move and visiting was all sorted out.My daughter went ahead and has now got a new house lined up. But at the weekend she received a solicitors letter from her ex boyfriend's solicitor stating that he opposes the move and has accused my daughter of mental abuse of their child by stating that she told their son if he doesn't move he wont get to see his step brother with whom he has lived with for over a year and they have a really good bond.My daughter has never ever said this at all and never would. A court case has now been arranged in July as due to him accusing her of mental abuse there can beno mediation so goes straight to a court case.Mydaughter would have liked to have gone to mediation to try and sort this out first. Can anyone offer advice on what options are available to her?
Weimaraner2019 - 24-Jun-19 @ 10:14 AM
Hi. I split up with my daughter's dad about 3/4 years ago. We were never married. But he is on the birth certificate. He's always had a problem with the fact that our daughter (who is 6) is living with me. He sees her from Friday until saturday night most weekends and then Friday until Sunday afternoon.He has her for the day or overnight when it is school holidays. A few weeks before Christmas, our daughter had chicken pox and he came to my flat to see her.. as it was a few weeks before Christmas, I was sorting stuff out to go to the charity shop, to make room for new presents that would come for Christmas. Well apparently he took photos of the place, which I don't remember, emailed them to Social Services (I asked him for proof of this email, he couldn't find it) and he phoned me and said that social services have advised them to take our daughter for a week to live with them so I could tidy the place up. Wouldn't social services get in touch with me?
Mother2019 - 22-Jun-19 @ 10:48 PM
My son has split from his ex due to her ill health he has brought them up single handed for the last 4&half years, she had them at weekends. In January she took them and didn't return them he is fighting for Residency - his ex is saying she is changing their schools can she do this while Residency is still being argued in court and shouldn't my son have a say in this??
Tray - 23-May-19 @ 8:14 AM
My daughter is separated from her son's partner. he is about to start primary 1 and due to child care issues she is looking to put my grandson to the school in my area. Can his father stop this
Lynny - 30-Apr-19 @ 2:55 PM
@caz.at 14 there is not much you can do they have there own mind you could apply to court put at 14 is it worth it ?. I am in the same boat but( I feel ok about it )now with the (circumstances )with the mother off my child( I stay well clear off that gross thing)and never been happier .
Chris - 6-Jan-19 @ 9:08 PM
@caz.at 14 self harming is pretty common I myself been though all that stuff with my younger brothers they grow out off it it’s usually just a praise they go though .hormones the shift between been a child to adult.just keep i on them and talk to them they will grow out off it hopefully.and in today society coming from a broken family is common so that wouldn’t be the cause look closer to home you might find the answer .
Chris - 6-Jan-19 @ 8:11 PM
A week ago my 14uear old daughter left to go live with her dad after an argument, she has never had any contact with him apart from phone in last 3years,we had moved to a new area and she is suppose to be starting school tommorow but has refused to come back, I have found out from my eldest daughter she has been self harming which her dad never told me, I have had no communication from her dad about anything since she got there, he is controlling her phone, I also found out he has also applied for the for her to go to a school there after 3days,im so worried about her because he is verbally controlling and obviously being 14there is nothing I can do. I just want her home.
Caz - 6-Jan-19 @ 6:07 PM
I have a court order in place which lets me see my daughter 6 days a monthbut my ex has the child living with her .It slowly gone to hakf half contact but this isn't threw the court it was r section now shed is changed her school without even telling me and she us saying if i made a big deal of it that she will go back to the original court that's 5 days a month and but I've been seeing her for 15vdays a month for last 2 years can she move the goal posts wen ever she want or would it be possible to go back court with the evidence of me having as much as her but she's trying to change it so she gets what she wants any advise pleaseas I'm lost
Martin - 3-Dec-18 @ 8:59 AM
Hi. I have a question please.I am divorced from my ex wife and my youngest daughter is 14 years old.I have contact with her 5 nights in a two week period.I live around 50 miles away from her school which is near where her mum lives.My daughter has had issues at school with being bullied for the last 12 months and has spoken to her mum about changing schools but she won't let her.My daughter has asked if she can live with me and go to a school near me instead to get away from the problems.I have said I am happy to help as don't want her to be distressed but I know my ex wife will be totally against it.We are both going to raise it with her and try to convince her.However how do I stand if she disagrees?As my daughter is 14 I assume her wishes would be considered but don't know what I can do to help her. What can I do?
Sax12 - 11-Oct-18 @ 10:39 PM
I am divorced and have shared parental responsibility with a 50:50 court order in place. My oldest needs to select a secondary school. There is a perfectly (in fact very good) suitable school nearby and his primary school is a feeder to it. I want my son to go there.All his friends are also going there. My ex however has been investigating private schools.I’ve told her I can not afford this (under our 50:50 arrangement no maintence is paid)and that the local state school is more than suitable. The deadline for applications is end of October and we have our first discussion at the end of this week. Knowing my ex she will just disagree with me whatever I propose. What I don’t understand is under a shared responsibility set up can I veto the choice. We’ve already spent tens of thousands on court and this just seems totally unnecessary. Let alone the complexities of getting one kid to private school 8 milesaway whilst the other one to primary school for the same time. Any suggestions?
Ntp76 - 9-Oct-18 @ 3:57 PM
I am divorced and have shared parental responsibility with a 50:50 court order in place. My oldest needs to select a secondary school. There is a perfectly (in fact very good) suitable school nearby and his primary school is a feeder to it. I want my son to go there.All his friends are also going there. My ex however has been investigating private schools.I’ve told her I can not afford this (under our 50:50 arrangement no maintence is paid)and that the local state school is more than suitable. The deadline for applications is end of October and we have our first discussion at the end of this week. Knowing my ex she will just disagree with me whatever I propose. What I don’t understand is under a shared responsibility set up can I veto the choice. We’ve already spent tens of thousands on court and this just seems totally unnecessary. Let alone the complexities of getting one kid to private school 8 milesaway whilst the other one to primary school for the same time. Any suggestions?
Ntp76 - 9-Oct-18 @ 6:19 AM
Do I need my ex partners permission to change our sons school?
Shell - 4-Oct-18 @ 10:37 AM
Hi there. I had a child from a one night stand several years ago. His mother and I have always been on good terms, and I am on the birth certificate as his father. We've always been friendly and came and went with one another with regards to childcare etc. A few years ago she moved to another town with her then new boyfriend, with whom she has another child. My son was put into school in this town and is happy and settled there. my wife and I have recently bought a house in this town to be closer to my son and be more involved in his schooling etc. HIs mother has now split with her former partner and is planning to move back to her home town with my son, taking him out out of school and into a new one. Do I have any legal recourse to stop this from happening?
Worried - 26-Aug-18 @ 12:41 PM
lisat84 - Your Question:
Hi,Me and my ex partner have just been through a lengthy custody battle which finished in Feb. We have shared custody of our 2yr old son whom currently gos to Nursery 2 days a week where hes happy and settled. My ex is now telling me when my sons 3 hes changing his nursery and he has to go 3 days a week so id lose one of my days if I agreed. I told him I dont want this and theres no need to change and now he's telling me he'll take me back to court as the government states a 3yr old has to go 3 days a week which im sure isn't true. Any advise?

Our Response:
There is no legal obligation for children to attend nurseries or school until they reach the age of five, so you can disagree with your ex's proposal. If you have an order from the court, then any changes to a contact order must be agreed by both parties. One party cannot unilaterally decide to change the order or apply additional terms. If they wish to do so, 'they' will need to refer the matter back to the courts.
SeparatedDads - 21-May-18 @ 2:44 PM
Hi, Me and my ex partner have just been through a lengthy custody battle which finished in Feb. We have shared custody of our 2yr old son whom currently gos to Nursery 2 days a week where hes happy and settled. My ex is now telling me when my sons 3 hes changing his nursery and he has to go 3 days a week so id lose one of my days if i agreed. I told him i dont want this and theres no need to change and now he's telling me he'll take me back to court as the government states a 3yr old has to go 3 days a week which im sure isn't true. Any advise?
lisat84 - 19-May-18 @ 11:20 AM
gr8dad - Your Question:
My ex has moved my children's school, and after reading ofsted and looking at everything, including how my children are doing in the school, I am not happy. This was done without my consent and wasn't told until the transfer paperwork had already been put in. They have moved to a school that has a worse ofsted and they are not progressing in their learning, even going backwards on some subjects, compared to the previous school. But she has moved them as her mother works at the new school and she wants her youngest son (with a new partner) to go to the new school. She feels like if our children are in the school her son has a better chance of getting him in even though my son would have left the school by the time her youngest goes there. Is there anything I can do about this as my children's education is my priority and she has actually put this in jeopardy.

Our Response:
The problem is, if your ex has moved their schools, by the time it gets to court (if your ex refuses to negotiate through mediation), then your ex will have the reasoning that your kids are settled. There is also the issue of school places. School places are filled up early, so finding an alternative may also be difficult. Yes, in theory your ex should have consulted you on the school move (if you have parental responsibility). However, now the move has taken place, it would be difficult address through court as there is no guarantee the court would rule in your favour.
SeparatedDads - 4-May-18 @ 9:42 AM
My ex has moved my children's school, and after reading ofsted and looking at everything, including how my children are doing in the school, I am not happy. This was done without my consent and wasn't told until the transfer paperwork had already been put in. They have moved to a school that has a worse ofsted and they are not progressing in their learning, even going backwards on some subjects, compared to the previous school. But she has moved them as her mother works at the new school and she wants her youngest son (with a new partner) to go to the new school. She feels like if our children are in the school her son has a better chance of getting him in even though my son would have left the school by the time her youngest goes there. Is there anything I can do about this as my children's education is my priority and she has actually put this in jeopardy.
gr8dad - 3-May-18 @ 2:13 PM
Can my wife simply take my kids out of school, go and visit a new school and enrole them, and then tell me after the event that the kids are moving school. This is out of county and double the distance away from me from Worcestershire to Leicestershire. She has told me that she was just looking, but then accidentally dropped out that she has put in an offer on a house local to the school as well so it’s more than just a quick visit out of interest. This is a calculated and deliberate move which I have been completely blindsided & unaware of.
Coops - 1-May-18 @ 6:59 PM
I need advice as a grandmother. My son was in a relationship with a lady who had 3 kids with three different dads and had a daughter with this lady. The lady as sweet until my granddaughter was two and she changed her tune. The relationship broke down and the lady moved address without letting us know. My son looked after the child since birth till 2 years old. We have not been able to see the child for 2.5 years. This has broken my son and our family. We would like to gain access to the child but do not know where to start. Please advice. We have no address although we know where the eldest child of the lady goes to school.
Kaz - 15-Apr-18 @ 8:27 PM
Kaij - Your Question:
Hi my 2 children's dad hasn't seen them in over 3 years he's just recently picked my son up to stay for the Easter holidays my daughter refused to go I have a court order were the children live with me and ment to go weekend and holidays to there dads but he never has them he is now refusing to bring my son back and sayin he is changing his school wat can I do about it

Our Response:
You may wish to report this to the police. If you have a residency order of your children and there is a court order in place that only allows your ex specific access, then the police may be able to intervene and return your son to you.
SeparatedDads - 10-Apr-18 @ 10:54 AM
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