The Collaborative Divorce Center

Children’s Rights Around School Choices

Children’s Rights Around School Choices

I am Pam Masters and I am a collaborative family lawyer, which is to say that I am a settlement specialist.  I guide couples and families on the difficult journey of divorce without court involvement. I do this in ways that protect children, preserves financial assets and creates healthy co-parenting relationships.

I am going to talk again about a child’s rights in divorced or separated families only this time I am going to do so in the context of back-to-school issues.

And I want to do so in the context of back to school issues.

  1. I have the right not have to make adult decisions.

One of the toughest issues that see is the school choice issue.   This is especially true if the parents do not live very close to one another. While this may seem like a zero-sum game, I encourage parents to consider adding other elements to the decision so that it can be a win/win. 

For example, the school in one place, sports in another. Elementary school in one district, middle or high school in another. Or private school.  The bottom line is that one parent is likely going to be inconvenienced with a drive.   This should never be your child’s problem to worry about. Use the drive time as conversation, catch up and connection time

  1. I have the right not to be dragged into whatever disagreements my parents have and the right to know that I did not cause or contribute to it in any way and I cannot fix it.

This includes disagreements about tutoring or sports participation or what classes to take

  1. I have the right to like both my parents and to be assured that this is ok.

Children are so very traumatized by the public display of their parent’s dislike for one another.  They are stressed out worrying about what might happen rather than being joyful and excited about the school event. They are mortified of being embarrassed in front of their friends and teachers by obvious hostility between their parents. Do not put your kids through this.  Sit together, be cordial and friendly to one another in front of teachers, friends and friend’s parents.

  1. I have the right to regular, predictable daily and weekly routine one that is not filled with alternating patterns, disruptions and drama caused by my parents refusing to follow common sense or to be flexible with agreements they may have made that aren’t working for ME.

Yes, parents get to parent how they parent after divorce BUT and this is especially true for younger kids, the best possible situation is for the parents to have a similar routine at each home. 

  1. I have the right not to ever choose with whom I live. I have this right even as a teenager and my parents wish I would choose.  Forcing me to make such a choice will hurt someone else and therefore, myself.  I can never choose between my parents.

This goes most especially for a choice that is being made because of a school issue.  

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