Legal Custody and Choosing Your Child's School - The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Chicago Family Law Blog

Legal Custody and Choosing Your Child's School

It's time for little Thurgood to return to school! He's grown up so fast, hasn't he? In fact, he'll be entering the seventh grade this year. Just yesterday, he was falling asleep in your lap while you perused the latest Supreme Court news.

The problem is, you still don't know what school he is going to attend. Thurgood's father wants the children to attend the closest public school, a cesspool that he once attended. He's tossing out meaningless words like "legacy" and "alma mater."

You, on the other hand, want your kid to attend Lindblom Math & Science Academy because it is the best damn school possible. Unfortunately, because Thurgood's father has a less-demanding schedule than you, he has custody during weeknights so that he can take the kids to and from school and soccer.

Since he'll be dropping them off, it's his choice, right?

Not exactly. Important life choices, such as school or religion are to be determined by the parent with legal custody, not the one with the majority of physical custody.

Legal custody is the right to make these choices. Physical custody is where the kid sleeps at night. Courts favor joint legal and physical custody so that both parents are involved in every aspect of the child's life.

So which school will he attend? Check your divorce paperwork or call your attorney. If one party has sole legal custody, that person gets to choose. If it's joint legal custody, you two are going to have to either come to a consensus or fight it out in court.

We'd recommend a consensus. After all, Lindblom started school yesterday.

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