As in most areas of Family Law, the decision of where a divorcing couple’s children will attend school is decided based on the facts of the case. The judge has the authority to make special provisions that are in the best interests of the children, but in most cases, one parent will be given the right to establish the children’s primary residence, which usually determines what public school the children can attend. If the children attend private school, or if one of the parents wants to put them in private school, there is no direct Family Code section to follow. It’s up to the parents to come to an agreement or a Judge to make a decision if the parents aren’t able to.
There are no hard-and-fast rules regarding whether to send the children to private school, and different judges have ruled differently on this issue. Some courts take the position that if a parent wants to pay for private school, then the children will go to private school. Some courts take the position that the primary parent should be the one to make that choice, regardless of who’s paying for the private schooling.
In deciding the issue, the judge may consider the private school’s location and its convenience to the primary parent’s home, whether the school is recognized as being superior to the available public school, how settled the children are in their current school, available transportation, past behavior or environmental problems, and the motivations of the parents in taking their respective positions.