My Child’s Other Parent And I Can’t Agree On A School – What Can We Do?

When parents separate, it’s important for the child’s sake to keep conflict to a minimum. There are lots of decisions to make as a parent, and it’s better if you can work together, rather than fight all the time.

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By Victoria Richardson - 11th January 2022

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If you and the other parent can’t agree on your child’s school, you’ll need to attend mediation. If this doesn’t work, then one parent can make an application to court for a Specific Issue Order.

Parenting plans

When parents separate, it’s important for the child’s sake to keep conflict to a minimum. There are lots of decisions to make as a parent, and it’s better if you can work together, rather than fight all the time.

Because of this, parents are encouraged to consider a parenting plan. This is an extremely effective tool, a good example of which can be found on the Resolution website. Parenting plans can help you consider the more difficult sides of parenting together. This includes the smaller issues that come up, rather than just how the children will spend their time.

One decision that must be made is choosing the right school for your child. However, when parents are separated, it is common for each person to have a different opinion. If the parents can’t agree then this will affect the child concerned. It also has the potential to spill over to other areas of their life.

So, if you and the other parent can’t agree on a school, what can you do?

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Mediation

The first step is to attend mediation to see if an agreement can be reached, or at the least listen to each other’s point of view to see whether this will change anything. There are many mediators now who will also involve the children in the mediation if they think this is appropriate. It may help to hear the child’s point of view in a non-hostile environment.

Mediation can be very effective in helping you reach a mutually agreeable decision.

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Specific Issue Order

If an agreement can’t be reached, then one parent must make an application to court for a Specific Issue Order. When the application is filed, the court will ask Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory Service) to investigate the matter and make recommendations to the court. If it’s appropriate, the Cafcass Officer will speak to your child and listen to their views. However, it is important to note that the child’s view is not the overriding factor in the decision. Instead, the court will make a decision based on what is in the child’s best interests.

Following the recommendations from Cafcass, if the you still can’t agree on a school for your child, then the court will decide for you. Obviously, this isn’t ideal as there will effectively be a winner and a loser in this scenario.

Ultimately it is important for parents to try and agree matters for the benefit of the child. This also avoids unnecessary and expensive litigation.

Speak to our Solicitors

If you need help with a Specific Issue Order, or any other legal matters relating to divorce and separation, please contact our Family Law Solicitors.

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