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Jeanne M. Hannah

Lisa, yes, there are cases involving those facts. The case that this post discusses (the Chizmadia case) is just one such case. If you and your ex-husband cannot agree then a judge may have to make that decision for you. The best way to prevail is to keep careful documentation and also to ensure that you have some testimony by a professional (teacher and/or child development specialist)who is familiar with your child and can testify as to what will suit her needs best.

Some children are fine being among the youngest in the class, but it surely would not hurt to wait a year. Most teachers would probably agree unless your child is so bright that she is bored. Socialization is far more important that academic achievement.

I suggest that you make it a point to see "Race to Nowhere" and urge your ex to see it, too. You can read about that film here.


Are there any case examples of parents that have joint legal and joint physical custody, parenting time is even, and the parents can not agree on school? Ex and I disagree about enrolling our daughter into kindergarten. She will just turn 5 this fall, but is excelling in her preschool. Her preschool would be the same school she would attend for kindergarten. Ex wants her to take Young 5's program and change her school. We can not agree, probably going to end up in court.

Jeanne M Hannah

Thanks, Tim, for reminding me of Hoeve v Hoeve In that recent case, the Court of Appeals decisions held that the parents' school-district decision may be, by itself, proper cause to change custody. In Hoeve,the parents lived about 70-miles apart and as a pre-schooler, the child alternated week-on-week-off between the mother and father. Father sought and was awarded sole physical custody, however, once the child became eligible for kindergarten and the court of appeals affirmed.

Family law appellate attorney Scott Bassett says that the Hoeve case suggests that parental school choice disputes is the "new frontier" in child custody litigation.

You may read Tim Flynn's excellent family law blog here:

Timothy P. Flynn

Jeanne: Great post. I did a custody update post back in January that focused on some of the school impact caselaw. Always useful reading your posts. Keep them coming.

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