Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My ex-wife and I are having trouble agreeing on where our son can/should attend school. He is 9 years old and currently attends a private christian school, but wants to go to public school with his step-sisters and neighborhood friends in the fall. My ex is avoiding the discussion of our son changing schools. My ex and I have joint physical and legal custody. What steps do I need to take in order to address this issue with the courts?

Answer: You should first examine the custody decree itself to see if it addresses this problem. The controlling language is often buried in boilerplate, especially if an attorney used a lengthy, standard template that runs for many, many pages. So look carefully! Some decrees compromise by giving final medical decision-making authority to one spouse, while turning over final educational authority to the other. Others are silent on this point, but require both parties to consult with a parenting coordinator or mediator before resorting to a judge for assistance. In the end, if the custody decree is no help at all, and there are no dispute-resolution provisions in the paperwork, you will have to petition the court for a decision. This involves following the procedure in Family Law Rule 91(A) and (H). You can find the Arizona family law rules by clicking on this link. Some superior court libraries might have this information, too. Read the rule carefully, and make sure to include all of the necessary forms, or you will risk rejection of your paperwork by the clerk or judge.

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QUESTIONS

  • My ex-wife and I are having trouble agreeing on where our son can/should attend school. He is 9 years old and currently attends a private christian school, but wants to go to public school with his step-sisters and neighborhood friends in the fall. My ex is avoiding the discussion of our son changing schools. My ex and I have joint physical and legal custody. What steps do I need to take in order to address this issue with the courts?

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