If you are a parent who is considering moving your child to a new school or school district for educational reasons, you may be wondering what steps you need to take. In most cases, the decision to move your child's schools will require only one parent’s approval, as they will have the exclusive right to make educational decisions for their children.
Our family law attorneys at Cofer & Connelly, PLLC take a closer look at how conservatorship works in Texas and what you need to do if you want to move your child's schools.
Conservatorship, often called custody, is the legal term used to describe the relationship between a child and their parents. There are two types of managing conservatorship: joint managing conservatorship (JMC) and sole managing conservatorship (SMC).
Joint managing conservatorship means that both parents have decision-making rights and responsibilities when making decisions about their child's welfare; however, with JMC, these rights can be subject to the agreement of the other parent, independent of the other parent, or exclusive to one parent. For example, one parent may be granted the exclusive right to make decisions for the child, such as invasive medical, education, psychiatric treatment, and more. If one parent is granted the exclusive right to make educational decisions for the child, they can enroll their child in a school of their choosing and make other education-related decisions without the other parent’s consent.
More often than not, we see parents as JMC, but one parent has the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child. In such a scenario, if the parents live in different school districts, the child will go to the school zoned to the parent’s residence with the exclusive right to designate the primary residence of the child.
Sole managing conservatorship, however, gives one parent the exclusive right to make educational decisions for the child.
Discussing School Changes
If you have the right to make educational decisions for your child subject to the other parent’s agreement, you should first approach any educational changes by having a discussion together. You should share why you believe your child should change schools, either to another school in their district, a private school, or a school outside of your school district, and how this change would be in your child’s best interests. Together, you can decide whether this change would be best for your child and if you both will move forward with the change. If you cannot agree on changing schools, your child should continue to go to their current school until you can agree on a path forward. If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent, you may need to file a modification and ask the Court to modify how educational decisions for your child will be made moving forward.
However, if you have the exclusive or independent right to make educational decisions for your child, then you will not need the other parent’s agreement prior to changing your child’s school. However, you do need to inform the other parent that you are enrolling your child in a different school as both sole managing conservators and joint managing conservators are required to keep the other parent informed of information pertaining to the child’s health, education, and welfare.
We Can Do More
If you are considering moving your child's schools, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the conservatorship process and ensure that your child's best interests are protected. The family law attorney can review your parenting plan with you and help you understand what type of conservatorship you have before you begin to make educational decisions for your child.
Are you planning on making changes to your child’s school plans? Schedule a consultation with one of our family law attorneys today to learn more about your conservatorship rights. Call us at (512) 991-0576 to get started!