Co-parents are sometimes at odds when it comes to important decisions relating to their children. School choice is one topic that can become particularly challenging. Each parent wants what they believe is best for the child, but when opinions vary, it’s important to understand who has the ultimate legal decision-making authority. Your parenting and custody arrangements now factor into the outcome, now more than ever. Joint custody, or joint legal decision making, grants both parents equal decision-making rights and responsibilities, although the court may include orders that one parent has final authority over certain decisions, like choice of school.
A recent Appeals Court ruling clarified the final decision-making authority for co-parenting or divorced parents with what used to be called “joint legal custody” in Arizona. If one parent has been granted sole legal decision making, then that parent has final say on major decisions that can include medical care, religion, education, including where the children will attend school. If the parents share legal decision making, then parents have to make these decisions together and the court now must refrain from making those parental decisions.
While communication and collaboration is always best for co-parents, if you find yourself at odds with the other parent on important decisions, it is best now to get the advice from an experienced attorney because latest case law has limited the court’s authority to decide certain decisions that should be decided by parents.
And when it comes to decisions about school, it should be addressed in the prior school years in early spring so that the decisions can be made in time for enrollment the next school year. If McMurdie Law can be of assistance, please call us at 480-777-5500.