Parents disagree on school for daughter.
Posted on April 23, 2017
My ex and I divorced when our daughter was 2. We have joint legal custody of and equal parenting time with our daughter. For the last three years, I’ve picked our daughter up from pre-school on Monday at 1:00 p.m. and had her until dropping her at pre-school on Friday. Any inequality is adjusted with extra time during the summer school vacation.
Our daughter starts public kindergarten next September. My ex lives in Westwood. I live in Lexington. We like the schedule which works for the three of us. But we can’t agree on where our daughter will go to school.
I don’t want to have to go to Westwood twice a day most days to get our daughter to and from school. He doesn’t want to take her to weekend activities in Lexington.
What happens if we cannot agree before September?A
The Massachusetts Department of Education website rates both towns as having excellent public schools. Westwood scores a bit higher on the MCAS. Lexington students do a bit better on the SAT.
Most towns take the position that wherever the child sleeps most nights during the school year is where that child may attend classes. If both towns have that rule, your daughter will go to school in the town where, during the school year, she sleeps most of the time meaning Lexington.
If that rule does not apply or you two can’t agree, one of you need to file a complaint for modification to ask the Court to change the parenting schedule. Since neither town has activities that are best for your child, the judge will have a difficult decision.
More importantly, if a modification is filed now, there’ll probably be no trial before next September. So any change in the schedule will depend on whether the judge will enter a temporary order about where your daughter starts public school or wait until after a full trial is held some time after next September. Often such temporary orders are the end of the line.
You could ask your ex to enroll your daughter in soccer and other weekend activities in Westwood even though she goes to school in Lexington. But, that’s an interim solution which just kicks the can down the road until her teams start mid-week practices. Then, about the 3rd grade, you need to be prepared to drive to Westwood midweek so your daughter can play in her activities.
If you two cannot agree, don’t cut your daughter in half - as suggested by King Solomon in the Bible. Instead, as crass as this is: flip a coin. Doing so saves both parents time and money because – if the truth be told - flipping a coin is actually or metaphorically what happens when you let the judge decide this issue.
By making your child’s best interests as your primary guide, you’ll find the answer. If you put your respective convenience first, there is no answer.