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Divorce and Homeschooling in KY: Legal Challenges and Best Practices for Co-parenting

Divorce and Homeschooling in KY: Legal Challenges and Best Practices for Co-parenting

Divorce means the end of many of the plans and dreams you and your spouse had together. This loss can fundamentally change how you parent and what role you play in your children’s upbringing. Consider education, for example—if one parent wants to homeschool and the other doesn’t, one parent is guaranteed to be unhappy with the outcome. The same is true if the battle is between a public and private school. It’s important to think about these issues as you head into your divorce so you can have them put into your divorce decree.

Facing issues with your Louisville divorce? Let’s talk about your next steps. Call John H. Ruby & Associates at 502-373-8044 to set up a consultation for your family law needs.

Decisions Made Prior to Divorce

First, you may want to think about the decisions you and your spouse had made prior to deciding to divorce. However, don’t put too much weight into them—it’s natural for plans to change when your relationship changes. Perhaps one spouse was okay with the other homeschooling because of their role as a stay-at-home parent, but now that they are splitting up, the first parent doesn’t want the other to have sole control of the child’s education. Maybe the parent who intended to homeschool will need to return to work, but the other parent is still pushing to stick with their homeschooling plan. Think about whether the plans you made are still realistic or fair in light of a divorce.

The Role of Legal Custody

Legal custody plays a huge role in disputes like these. While the term physical custody relates to with whom a child lives, the term legal custody refers to who makes important decisions on a child’s behalf. These decisions include those related to education. In most cases, the parents share legal custody—even if one parent has primary physical custody. The court will only completely take away legal custody if one parent is a danger to the child or consistently makes choices that are not in their best interests. Assuming that you and your spouse will share legal custody, this is an issue that you will need to agree on together.

The Court’s Focus: The Child’s Best Interests

At the center of every childcare dispute that comes before the court is the children. The court will always put the child’s best interests above all else. A lot goes into this. For example, the court may look at the child’s age and current educational background. If they have been homeschooled since entering school and they are excelling academically, it may be in their best interest to keep that routine. However, if the child is just now entering school and has no history of homeschooling, the court may opt to allow the child into the public school system. Additionally, the court will look at both parents’ reasons and claims.

Note, though, that these decisions aren’t always made by the court. Ultimately, most parents come to some sort of agreement in order to keep the final decision out of the court’s hands. Some degree of compromise on your part may be necessary.

A Parent’s Skills and Qualifications

One topic that is likely to come up as you work toward a resolution in this area is the qualifications of the parent who wants to homeschool. The state of Kentucky does not have any reporting requirements, required standardized testing, or portfolio review. A parent can truly decide to homeschool, send in a yearly letter, and never teach anything. To avoid that tragic outcome, the court and the other parent will likely want to ensure that the homeschooling parent is capable of meeting the child’s educational needs. If you want to homeschool, consider doing some research into different homeschooling curricula, co-op groups in your area, and resources for homeschooling parents.

Facing Family Law Issues? Contact John H. Ruby & Associates

Divorce is full of challenging and stressful conversations. If you and your ex are butting heads over your child’s educational future, let us help. Call our team at 502-373-8044 or fill out our online contact form to get started.