BLOG: Another year has gone by and the children are already part way through the school year. Many are already considering future educational arrangements for their children starting school next educational year. However, this can be a hotly contested issue between parents who have separated, whether it is choosing a child’s primary school or looking at choices on GCSEs or A Levels.
These are important decisions to make and being separated can make the circumstances more difficult. This should be a choice which parents with parental responsibility make together. Therefore it is always important to establish in these matters whether both parents do have parental responsibility prior to any decisions being made.
However, this does vary dependent upon the marital status of the parents, and the age of the children.
If both parents have parental responsibility then the consent of both parents or the decision of the court is required by way of an intervention. This is done by an application under a specific issue order. These applications can be useful as rather than assessing the full care of the children, it looks at just one issue – such as an educational decision. This can significantly narrow down time frames for decisions being made, the evidence required and so costs in dealing with the court process.
The court consider matters such as the educational need, the capacity of the parents to meet that need and the effect on the child if any changes of school are to occur. Evidence would need to be produced such as the child’s reports, any areas they excel in and what the schools can achieve. The child’s welfare is the most important factor to the court.
However, as with any school application, timing is key to consider these matters as the court will have a specific time frame and may involve the appointment of Cafcass officers to undertake reports to aid the court on their decision. Therefore an application needs to be made in sufficient time to allow the procedure to take place.
Wortley Byers Law can offer advice on specific issue orders and also offer mediation on these issues to help parents reach an agreement before the need for court intervention.Contact our family law team on 01277 268 368 or via email.