Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s bitter divorce battle drags on, as the pair continues to navigate custody-related issues. In a recent US Weekly article, Kanye spoke out about his perceived lack of rights, including where their daughter North attends school. “I didn’t even have a say-so whether or not they went to Sierra Canyon,” West alleged in the article, referencing the name of his children’s elementary school. “Most men do not — there’s no such thing as 50-50 custody in society today. It always leans toward the mom.”
Certainly, school choice is a hot button issue for many divorcing couples with children. However, while Kanye claimed courts lean towards the mother, choosing a school district is actually guided by legislation. In Pennsylvania, a school age child is entitled to attend the public school of the district in which the child resides. Furthermore, 24 Pa. Code Section 11.11(a)(1) states that when the parents reside in different school districts due to separation, divorce or some other reason, the child may attend school in the district of residence of the parent with whom the child lives for a majority of the time. If a parent has primary custody, then the child is going to attend school in that parent's school district.
What happens when parents have shared custody? 24 Pa. Code Section 11.11(a)(1) states that "[i]f the parents have joint custody, and time is evenly divided, the parents may choose which of the two school districts the child will enroll for the school year." That’s where disputes may occur. If one district is highly ranked and the other is not, a parent with partial custody may pursue a court-ordered agreement for the child to attend the better district.
When the districts are comparable, it’s a more difficult case to make. That’s also the situation if one parent is advocating for a parochial or private school education rather than a public one. The determining factor for the courts will always be the option in the best interest of the child. If the child already knows some of the students or has participated in activities at the school, that could help determine the choice.
Resolving issues related to child custody and visitation – such as the choice of a school district – can be among the most difficult issues in divorce proceedings. If you need a top divorce attorney in Bucks County, contact us at 215-340-2207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.