Parenting Plan and Your Child's Education
What was once known as legal custody is now known as parental responsibilities. This is the right to make decisions on a child’s behalf that impact the child’s lifestyle and future. Under Illinois law, a parenting plan must touch upon all of the following subjects and state which parent is responsible for making decisions in each subject area. Both parents can be named in one or all subject areas, granting them both the right to make decisions and requiring them to work together in their child’s best interest:
- Extracurricular activities; and
- Religious upbringing.
There are many competing philosophies on education and even among married couples, parents can disagree about the best course of action for their child’s education. If you find yourself disagreeing with your former spouse’s thoughts and choices regarding your child’s schooling, keep the following in mind:
If You Share the Responsibility to Make Choices About Your Child’s Education, You Have to Work Together
When you share parental responsibilities with a former spouse, you have to cooperate for your child’s sake. Making decisions about moving a child to a different school, keeping him or her back a year, handling behavior problems in the classroom, and discussing issues related to your child’s learning disability or need for an individualized education program (IEP) can be stressful.
Take yourself and your feelings about your former partner out of the equation and focus solely on your child’s educational needs. Use concrete facts like progress reports and report cards to guide your conversations with your former partner. Remember that sometimes, a parenting plan needs to be altered to give a child the best chance for academic success.
Seek Guidance from an Outside Professional
Your child’s teachers and guidance counselor are among the most well-equipped parties to provide testimony about your child’s progress, learning style, and capabilities in the classroom. Work with these parties, not against them or without their input – they have your child’s best interest in mind and want your child to succeed.
A child psychologist can also work with your family to determine the right education plan for your child. Consider working with your child’s school psychologist or finding one who specifically handles education issues.
Consider Your Child’s Preference
When the court develops a parenting plan, it considers a child’s preference if the child is mature enough to articulate a well-reasoned position. Depending on the issue at school, consider letting your child weigh in on his or her educational path.
Work with an Experienced Naperville Family Lawyer
Working with a former spouse to co-parent your child can be challenging. For legal guidance as you navigate the world of parenting after a divorce, work with experienced Kane County family lawyer Matthew Shaw. Contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. today to schedule your initial consultation in our office, during which we can answer any questions you have about developing, enforcing, or modifying a parenting plan. You can reach us by calling 630-584-5550 today.