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

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 24 Aug 2017 | 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.

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My wife and I have been separated for nearly 3 years and have joint custody over our children. I agreed to pay a monthly amount to her for the care of the children at the point of separation and we agreed to split the cost of hobbies, etc 50:50 at the time. We have done this independently of the CSA, but I used their calculator at the time. I have often paid more than she has for these hobbies, but given we are three years on, I am not sure what the situation is concerning the payments. The children spend exactly half the time with me and I want to know why I still have to pay maintenance to her. What options do I have?
ScottyE - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:42 AM
My ex-wife and I are separated, but have 50:50 custody of our children. I would like them to attend private school, which I have agreed I will fully pay for, but she is refusing to allow them to go and refusing to even have a conversation about what is the best outcome for them. What options are available to me?
ScottyE - 24-Aug-17 @ 11:35 AM
My ex wife has transferred my kids to a new school with out consulting me. In our dissolution and in the transcripts it states we both have to make that decision together and also that my address will be used for the kids school. What is my recourse
Jay - 4-Aug-17 @ 12:28 PM
Concerned- Your Question:
Hi, me and my wife have been separated for 3 years. I've been in ESA ever since so have not paid any child support as I don't have to. I have her 2 nights every fortnight, plus come extra time during the holidays. She now wants to change our child's school but didn't inform me until it was already arranged. Does my situation count as shared parenting? And should she have consulted me before making this decision?

Our Response:
In theory, if you have parental responsibility your ex should have consulted you regarding your child's school. However, in practice this does not always happen and if you disagree with your ex's choice you would either have to suggest mediation, and if you cannot resolve the issue through mediation, if you feel very strongly, take the matter to court.
SeparatedDads - 16-Feb-17 @ 12:06 PM
Hi,me and my wife have been separated for 3 years.I've been in ESA ever since so have not paid any child support as I don't have to.I have her 2 nights every fortnight,plus come extra time during the holidays.She now wants to change our child's school but didn't inform me until it was already arranged.Does my situation count as shared parenting?And should she have consulted me before making this decision?
Concerned - 15-Feb-17 @ 6:50 PM
My ex husband decided to move my daughter school without talking to me,my daughter going to school originally from Kenosha Wisconsin,and he decided to move her in Arlington Heights school inillinois.He never talked to me about it until couple days ago. We have joint custody.What can I do.What action should I do.
Amy - 11-Dec-16 @ 3:27 PM
SAK - Your Question:
Hi all, I have continually paid maintenance for my daughter when I split from my ex wife 5 years ago, she is now looking to enroll her in a private school - will I be expected to help to pay for this even though I already pay full maintenace to her

Our Response:
If your child was already attending private school before the split, then you could be deemed to be obligated to continue payments, if the courts ordered it and you could afford to. However, it is less likely to be ordered by the court if the decision has been made by your ex to send your daughter to private school, if you object and object to paying. In other words, your ex canot demand you pay anything above and beyond your child maintenance payments, if you don't agree.
SeparatedDads - 8-Nov-16 @ 2:01 PM
Hi all, i have continually paid maintenance for my daughter when i split from my ex wife 5 years ago, she is now looking to enroll her in a private school - will i be expected to help to pay for this even though i already pay full maintenace to her
SAK - 8-Nov-16 @ 8:07 AM
My life was destroyed when my husband sent me packing, after 13 years we have been together. I was lost and helpless after trying so many ways to my husband back to me. One day at work, I was distracted, not knowing that my boss called me, so he sat and asked me what it was all about, I told him and he smiled and said it was no problem. I never understood what he meant by it was no problem getting back my husband, he said he used a spell to get back his wife when she left him for another man, and now they are together till date and initially I was shocked hearing something from my boss. He gave me an email address of the Prophet Abuvia which helped him get his wife back, I never believed that this would work, but I had no choice coming into contact with the sayings that I get done, and he asked for my information and that my husband was able to propose to throw him the spell and I sent him the details, but after two days, my mother called me that my husband was pleading that he wants me back, I never believed, because it was just a dream and I had to rush off to my mother's place and to my greatest surprise, was kneeling my husband beg mefor forgiveness that he wants me and the child back home, when I gave prophet Abuvia a conversation regarding sudden change of my husband and he made clear to me that my husband will love me until the end of the world, that he will never leave for another woman. Now me and my husband is back together and started doing funny things he has not done before, he makes me happy and do what it is supposed to do as a man without nagging. Please if you need help of any kind need, please contact Prophet Abuvia for help. His email is prophet.abuvia (AT) g m a i l. com his website is prophetabuviasolutiontemple. webs . com
Sarah Coleman - 28-Oct-16 @ 10:07 PM
I have a 15yr old son to which I have found out he doesn't attend the same school anymore. I had an appointment with the school 2wks ago for truancy. There is no court order as far as custody. He resides with his mother. Can she do this without me knowing? Should the school have gotten ahold of me about this? I did not receive a call back from the school. I will stop an get all copies of paper work an fax to my attorney. We are in the middle of divorce now. Any help I'd greatly appreciate. I reside in Pennsylvania.
lanky - 25-Oct-16 @ 10:44 PM
AllenM - Your Question:
I have a 14 yr old daughter with my ex. We separated when she was 1yrs old and I have had my daughter all weds since. During the week she lives with her mum and schools near her home.Recently the school has fallen into special measures and this has now gone on for 2 yes. My daughter has asked to leave the school and also feels she doesn't feel close to any of her schools friends. It has reached the point that she cries a lot about school and is distressed. I have spoken to another school and they are happy to take her. Ahead of talking to her mum about it I'm concerned she will say no on the grounds she just wants her near in the week. Where do I stand and if my daughter insists she wants to leave, can she?

Our Response:
This is better to be resolved between you as a family, if you can. If you can't, you may wish to suggest mediation to your ex. If your ex refuses to discuss the matter, then if you wish to pursue it, your only option would be through the courts. Please see link here. The fact your daughter is now 14 would also mean her opinion would be taken on board by Cafcass and the court.
SeparatedDads - 20-Oct-16 @ 2:35 PM
I have a 14 yr old daughter with my ex. We separated when she was 1yrs old and I have had my daughter all weds since. During the week she lives with her mum and schools near her home. Recently the school has fallen into special measures and this has now gone on for 2 yes.My daughter has asked to leave the school and also feels she doesn't feel close to any of her schools friends. It has reached the point that she cries a lot about school and is distressed. I have spoken to another school and they are happy to take her. Ahead of talking to her mum about it I'm concerned she will say no on the grounds she just wants her near in the week. Where do I stand and if my daughter insists she wants to leave, can she?
AllenM - 19-Oct-16 @ 11:46 PM
My ex and I have a 7 year old son in the first grade. She has notified me she will be moving next August and wants to switch out sons school. He has been there 2 years and loves it. He doesn't want to switch schools. She is the custodial parent and she has told me I have no say. What do you think my chances are to block it when I file a motion. We have joint custody.
Mikey - 21-Sep-16 @ 3:29 PM
PattyJune81 - Your Question:
Hi me and my Ex were never married but were together almost a decade and have 3 children together. We have no court orders or anything else on our children. He decided to move to another county and took it upon himself to enroll our children in school there. I tried talking to him but he acts like he has sole custody of the kids he does what he wants without ever consulting me first. How can I legally keep my children in this school district?

Our Response:
If you fear your ex may leave the country without your official consent (which by law he needs), then I suggest you seek legal advice asap and apply for a Prohibited Steps Order. A Prohibited Steps Order (PSO) is an order granted by the court in family cases which prevents either parent from carrying out certain events or making specific trips with their children without the express permission of the other parent. This is more common in cases where there is suspicion that one parent may leave the area with their children. We have all heard the stories of a parent taking their child for the weekend and not returning them or going abroad with them and it becoming extremely difficult for the other parent to get their child back. Thankfully, this is one of the scenarios that a PSO seeks to prevent. It is highly unlikely a court would rule to upset the children's stability if you do not agree, thus allowing them to remain in the UK. A solicitor's letter outlining the seriousness of 'abduction' should he try to remove the children without your consent may help stop him in his tracks.
SeparatedDads - 19-Aug-16 @ 2:01 PM
Hi me and my Ex were never married but were together almost a decade and have 3 children together. We have no court orders or anything else on our children. He decided to move to another county and took it upon himself to enroll our children in school there. I tried talking to him but he acts like he has sole custody of the kids he does what he wants without ever consulting me first. How can I legally keep my children in this school district?
PattyJune81 - 19-Aug-16 @ 12:57 AM
Worry mommy - Your Question:
Hi My ex and I finalized our divorce in May 2016. We have joint custody of all our kids. In the divorce decree it states that he resides with his mother which is where the school district of where my children attend. I want to keep them there mainly because we will both still have our time with the kids equally and I can be involved in their school. He is now living with his Gf in another town that that is 30 to 40 mins away. He wants to change schools so the kids are closer to him, but I would get less time with my children. I will not be able to keep them overnight and take to them to school in my days off. What are my options?

Our Response:
Your option is to negotiate between you. However, if negotiations fail, you have two options mediation or court. If the matter went to court, the court will always rule for what is in the best interests of your children and that is the least disruption to your children's lives possible. Therefore, if you prefer your children to remain at the school in which they are already established, then you stand a better chance of being given the option. However, we would hope it would not get that far and that you can hopefully negotiate between you, or negotiate through mediation if you can't agree. If the situation is not equal and you have equal care of your children, then you should stick to your guns and re-inforce the children should stay where they already are.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jul-16 @ 11:10 AM
Hi My ex and I finalized our divorce in May 2016.We have joint custody of all our kids.In the divorce decree it states that he resides with his mother which is where the school district of where my children attend .I want to keep them there mainly because we will both still have our time with the kids equally and I can be involved in their school.He is now living with his Gf in another town that that is 30 to 40 mins away.He wants to change schools so the kids are closer to him, but I would get less time with my children.I will not be able to keep them overnight and take to them to school in my days off.What are my options?
Worry mommy - 24-Jul-16 @ 6:36 AM
Hi my neice is going to live with her dad November until then she's living with her mom (my sister) out of the blue my sister has received a letter stating that her daughter has place at school in September by her dads...which my sister hasn't agreed to it..my question is if my sisters ex husband has applied for place at school by him does my sister have to be told and do both parents have to sign application form ..thank you for any advice my sis is at her wits end with worry due to no one telling her that her daughter will be starting school somewhere else my neiceis due to start school near where she lives with my sister
Sanie42 - 9-Jul-16 @ 11:48 AM
My son is 15 yrs. old, and wants to attend high school with his younger brother, here in Las Vegas. His father refuses (he makes all decisions without consulting me). My son lives in San Diego- North County, with his fathers parents and watches his grandpa at night (grandma and aunty works night shifts). Father sees him on weekends. It is not grandparents responsibility, nor, it's not my 15 yrs old sons responsibility to be a sitter for his grandpa. He has a mother (ME). Also, my son have three siblings that needs their oldest brother. My son wants to live with me but his father thinks otherwise. I am a darn good parent. I'm not saying that his father is bad, which he's not. My son always tells his dad that he wants to live with mom...but he says no and makes him cry with what he says. I'm tired of him putting me down to our son. I want what's best for my baby/ies. Am I being greedy?
tahiti - 30-Jun-16 @ 4:49 PM
Golf1 - Your Question:
We have a shared care arrangement through a court order where I have my daugter and the mother has him alternating weeks (Week on week off). We have equal parental rights.She currently attends nursery where I live (and she used to live) and has another year there of pre school starting in September. The court order does specifically state that she must still go to nursery. Whilst it doesnt specifically state this, the magistrates did say she must still go there to maintain the relationships with her peers (friends) and teachers.My ex has recently contacted me after moving a few miles away to a different town that she has applied for a place at pre school at a school she wants her to go to and that her place has been accepted and because she doesnt want to travel anymore to her current nursery and that she will be starting there in September.I think that it is in his best interests, as per the court order for him to remain where he is. Additionally, the school she has chosen is not one I would like him to ultimately go to.Last time in court she refused to go to mediation and will not compromise. Can I stop this from happening? What is the best route forward?

Our Response:
Essentially by deviating from the court order your ex is in breach, please see Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. Therefore, if you have any issue with your ex's decision then it would be up to you to take the matter back to court in an attempt to have the order enforced. However, the rub is that as your ex has moved and if the logistics of your ex remaining at the previous nursery are difficult, impractical or untenable, then the court may side with her. It really is up to you to weigh up whether your ex moving the nursery could be seen as a rational and practical move that is in the best interests of your child, or not.
SeparatedDads - 29-Jun-16 @ 10:35 AM
We have a shared care arrangement through a court order where I have my daugter and the mother has him alternating weeks (Week on week off). We have equal parental rights. She currently attends nursery where I live (and she used to live) and has another year there of pre school starting in September. The court order does specifically state that she must still go to nursery. Whilst it doesnt specifically state this, the magistrates did say she must still go there to maintain the relationships with her peers (friends) and teachers. My ex has recently contacted me after moving a few miles away to a different town that she has applied for a place at pre school at a school she wants her to go to and that her place has been accepted and because she doesnt want to travel anymore to her current nursery and that she will be starting there in September. I think that it is in his best interests, as per the court order for him to remain where he is. Additionally, the school she has chosen is not one I would like him to ultimately go to. Last time in court she refused to go to mediation and will not compromise. Can I stop this from happening? What is the best route forward?
Golf1 - 28-Jun-16 @ 9:55 AM
jimbob - Your Question:
Hi I have a court order to see my daughter on Saturday and Sunday I see her on Saturday but my ex will not let me see my daughter on Sunday just wondering if she is breaking the court order

Our Response:
Yes, she is, please see link, Breach of Contact or Residence Order: What to Do, here. Before you take the matter back to court I suggest you pay for a solicitor's letter reminding your ex of her obligation to upkeep the terms of the court order and the repercussions of her actions if she does not. This should to the trick and your ex will hopefully comply. If she doesn't, then you will be allowed to take the matter back to court to have the order enforced. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jun-16 @ 12:12 PM
Hi I have a court order to see my daughter on Saturday and Sunday i see her on Saturday but my ex will not let me see my daughter on Sunday just wondering if she is breaking the court order
jimbob - 26-Jun-16 @ 4:48 PM
nin - Your Question:
Hi.im about yo separate from husband who was verbally abusive and his behaviour is affecting my childI want to move about 300miles away to my family.can I do so with kids and without my husbands permission and without him taking legal action against me? Do I need to do anything first?im scared that if he finds out he might harm me.can I slso change school without his permission.thank you

Our Response:
If your husband has Parental Responsibility then by law you will need to request his consent for both of these. If he refuses, then you can apply for a Specific Issue Order through the courts and the courts will decide upon whether you stay or go dependent upon what it thinks is in the best interests of your child. It also very much depends on whether your ex has a contact order in place through the courts, which if you move, you will be in breach of. Of course, you can make the move without his consent, but you would have to be aware of the repercussions that could ensue if he decided to take the matter to court. Please see the Specific Issue Order link here.
SeparatedDads - 26-Feb-16 @ 9:57 AM
Hi.im about yo separate from husband who was verbally abusive and his behaviour is affecting my child I want to move about 300miles away to my family.can i do so with kids and without my husbands permission and without him taking legal action against me? Do i need to do anything first?im scared that if he finds out he might harm me.can i slso change school without his permission.thank you
nin - 25-Feb-16 @ 6:40 AM
Dave - Your Question:
My daughter in year 10 is having a hard time at her catholic high school and wants to move to a public school, it is the start of the year and I want her to finish year 10 and move in year 11 but she refuses and my ex agrees she should go now, her makes the official decision

Our Response:
There is no one in particular who should make the official decision if both parents have PR. However, it is usually the primary carer who has the last word. As both your daughter and her father have one mind and you another, perhaps a Mediation session may be the way forward. Please see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here.
SeparatedDads - 22-Feb-16 @ 9:56 AM
My daughter in year 10 is having a hard time at her catholic high school and wants to move to a public school, it is the start of the year and I want her to finish year 10 and move in year 11 but she refuses and my ex agrees she should go now, her makes the official decision
Dave - 21-Feb-16 @ 12:40 AM
Timmy - Your Question:
My ex is moving my son's school again he is 8 and settled If she does this will be his 4th school in about 5 years is there anything I can do to stop his education being disrupted

Our Response:
You can apply to the courts for a prohibited steps order. Here's more information
SeparatedDads - 11-Feb-16 @ 10:25 AM
My ex is moving my son's school again he is 8 and settled If she does this will be his 4th school in about 5 years is there anything I can do to stop his education being disrupted
Timmy - 10-Feb-16 @ 3:36 PM
Hi my ex who split with me in January is now pregnant with someone else's child and informed today, she also told me she would be moving after Christmas 35miles away and changing my sons school as well as her daughters(my step daughter for 10 years) my son is 8 and I am on the birth certificate, when we moved to where we are now it was so the kids could have a better upbringing in a nicer area and now she wants to go back because she is pregnant and clearly wants to live with the new boyfriend where do I stand as I have concerns my son will not like it there
Star2512 - 16-Dec-15 @ 10:40 PM
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