Shared Child Custody Arrangement - Who Decides what School?

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22 July 2014
My ex husband moved 40 kms away when we separated and we have shared custody of our 4 yo son (custody of children). My son has being going to child care near me for the last 3 years. My son is due to start school next year and I assumed he would go to school near me. My ex husband is now saying that this is not fair and my son should go to school near him. Who gets to decide this? I have 65% share of custody of children.


Hi Belinda,

There is a “presumption” in family law that both parents have “shared parental responsibility”, which includes jointly making decisions about “major long term issues”. When parenting orders are made by the Court, the assumed starting point is that both parent’s have equal “shared parental responsibility”. This should not be confused with the determination that a court has made with regard to the time the child spends with each parent. Therefore, just because you have 65% custody does not mean you have more say in this matter than your husband.

The presumption of equally shared parental responsibility for major long term decisions will only be overridden in circumstances where for example a parents is found to have abused the child, or has been the perpetrator of Family Violence. In such cases the Court will usually make an order granting sole parental responsibility over major long term issues to the other parent.

Therefore unless you have been granted sole parental responsibility by the court, both you and your husband have an equal role in determining issues such as education that have a long term effect on your child and they must be made jointly.

There is a great blog article at this site, which provides some helpful insights: separatedparentsandchoosingschools.html