Public school is free in part to ensure that every child has access to a basic education. However, concerns about the ability of a large institution to meet the needs of specific children and issues with curriculum have inspired an increasing number of parents in recent years to start providing an education for their children at home.
Homeschooling was once a very niche endeavor but has become quite popular in the last half decade or so. Religious reasons and health concerns are among the more commonly reported explanations adults provide for choosing to homeschool their children. Bullying is also often a top concern, as are the special instructional needs of certain children. Co-parents in North Dakota usually need to reach an agreement if at least one of them aspires to make a major shift to how their family operates. If they can’t reach an agreement, one parent may attempt to litigate the situation in order to reach a resolution.
Do the parents have an agreement in place?
The most important consideration when evaluating a contested decision to homeschool the children in a family with divorced or separated parents will often be the custody order or parenting agreement. Adults can potentially reach their own determination about shared parental responsibilities, including decision-making authority. A judge can also enter a very specific order allocating both parenting time and that crucial authority.
One adult may potentially have the legal right to make decisions, while the other may require their input or support to make major choices on behalf of the children. Other times, the arrangement may require that the adults agree on any long-term, non-emergency decisions. If they cannot work together regarding big choices like what schools the children attend, and they may very well find themselves headed back to family court.
A judge can then clarify which adult has the final decision-making authority for educational decisions. Ideally, both parents would be willing to communicate openly with each other and the children about decisions that will affect the entire family. Often, they may require outside support when they find themselves disagreeing about what would be best for the children.
Those who understand the legal approach to major custody matters may have an easier time preparing to discuss a significant parenting issue with their co-parent. Recognizing that educational decisions could have lasting implications for the children in the family may give a parent the courage they need to speak up about certain decisions or assert themselves while communicating with their child’s other parent about that child’s needs.