I live in MD and currently have full custody of my son (15 yrs old). I have chosen for him to spend a year living with his dad and going to school there, in Virgina.
I am being told that he needs to have legal custody to register him for school. The school in VA tells me (vaguely) that we can have joint custody and permission from me.
We are not sure it is going to work out for my son in VA and don't want to change our custody arrangements every time we change his school.
Is there any way that I can keep sole custody of my son (legally) and give (legal) permission for him to attend school for the year in VA? Can I grant his father temporary custody? Can I get a legal document giving him permission to make sole decisions for my son while he is living there?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Free public schooling in Virginia is based on residence. To the best of my knowledge, every school district requires that, if a student is permitted to attend school in that district does not reside in that district, tuition must be paid.
There may be additional tuition for an out-of-state student, if he or she is permitted to attend at all.
As a general rule, a child's residence is legally that of his or her parents. When the parents do not reside together, the child's residence is that of his or her custodial parent.
When parents have joint legal custody, and separate residences, schools may look to determine the child's actual physical residence.
So, to answer your question, it is highly unlikely that your 15-year old son will be permitted to attend public school in Virginia without the payment of tuition unless his father has some form of custody.
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