I share legal custody of my almost 3 year old daughter. I have primary custody at an approximate 70/30 split. I live one hour north of her father. I have tentatively enrolled my daughter in preschool part time only during my parenting hours and she is set to begin in sept. Her father and I have not discussed it at this time. I plan to notify him and give him full legal access. He and I "parallel parent" at his request and have been defined as high-conflict, although I feel that is not the case. I need to know if I'm legally in the wrong, and how to proceed.
Our court order is worded as such. "Legal custody: Parents share joint legal custody, which means that parents shall share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child. And consult each other in regards to enrollment and dis-enrollment in school...."
I plan to send the following email, is this sufficient for his consent, and if he says no, does that mean I have no rights to enroll her even if it's just during my parenting hours?
“I would like to start ----- at (name of school) preschool in (my town) part-time during my parenting hours only. Her start date would be September 4th. Please be aware that you would be listed with full legal access and if you would like to set up a tour and meet her teacher you are welcome to do so. If you have objections after doing this, please let me know prior to her start date, at which time her monthly tuition will be paid in full.”
What are my rights as primary custody parent. Since it doesn’t interfere with his parenting time, and he can be involved, would he still be able to deny her the chance to go? Also I am not asking for him to pay any of the fees.
2 Answer from Attorneys
The obligation is only to consult with the non-custodial parent. The other parent does not have to necessarily agree with your choice of school. If the other parent objects to the school for some reason, they would have to go to court to ask the judge to order the child attend another school. The other parent would have to show the school is somehow detrimental to the child. Not very likely in most cases.