It’s back to school time in Middle Tennessee. If you’re recently separated, you may be wondering – where will my child go to school? In the state of Tennessee, school aged children are required to go to school or be enrolled in a home school affiliation. Typically a child’s residential district dictates where the child goes to school, but in situations of joint custody, this can be confusing.

In Tennessee, if one parent has the child most of the time (ie: more than 182.5 nights a year), the child will likely attend school in the district of that parent. However, in cases where parents enjoy a 50/50 custody schedule, it can be difficult to decide where the child should go to school. Some factors parents should consider are:

  • Who lives in the better school district
  • How far are the schools from each parent’s residence
  • Which parent has the freedom to travel further in the mornings
  • Extracurricular programs each school offers
  • History of child in school district
  • Does the child have established relationships in either school district

If you are unable to make this decision together for your child, you may need to go to mediation to come to a decision. If you are unable to decide jointly through mediation, the court will make the decision. You will want help from an experienced child custody lawyer when dealing with mediation and the legal system in Middle Tennessee. The experience our attorneys can provide you during a dispute over school districts can be extremely helpful with your case.

So how does the court decide which parent gets to make this decision? When the court assigns a primary residential parent in a joint custody case, they’re not deciding where the child will go to school, but rather, which parent will have the legal custody over this decision. Here are some factors the court may take into consideration when making this decision:

  • A well-involved and knowledgeable parent
  • If one parent can show they involved the other parent in the process to investigate school options
  • The logistics for any and all transportation challenges both parents might face
  • History of parental involvement in the school district with child
  • Each parents ability to articulate their reasons why their chosen school would be in the best interest of the child.

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re struggling to come to a decision about where your child should go to school, reach out to Murfreesboro Family Law for a consultation. Our experienced family law and child custody attorneys are here to help you navigate this stressful situation and help your family get the best outcome.