Aurora, CO asked in Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody for Colorado

Q: Can my ex force me to send our 5 year old to kindergarten?

I have full custody, he only has visitation. We are supposed to share decision making on school. Colorado law does not require they begin until they are 6 and he is not 6 until next summer

3 Lawyer Answers
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: First, review the custody agreement to see if there are nay tie-breaker rules on parenting decisions.

If he has some visitation, you do not have full custody. Likely you have either primary or joint custody.

As the moving party, your ex will need to seek a court order (which means a judge will decide when the child should start school) for override your decision (assuming there are not tie-breaker rules). That said, it is advisable to see if some agreement can be reached without court involvement. Family court judges generally do not like to be the decision maker for minor parenting issues unless there is total intransigency between the parents...

You may want to consider mediation. If not, you probably will want to hire a lawyer if your ex chooses to file.

Jeff Alter
Jeff Alter
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • Greenwood Village, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: The reality is that if you both have equal education decision-making with no tie-breaking provision, then he cannot force you to send the child to kindergarten. He would need to first file a motion with the court and then get an order for kindergarten attendance before you would be required to send the child to kindergarten.

Further, it is unsettled at the present time in Colorado whether a court has the authority to order a child to attend kindergarten or attend any particular school. For this reason, most courts when faced with this issue will give education decision-making to one of the parties so they can decide.

John Hyland Barrett III
John Hyland Barrett III
Answered
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • BOULDER, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: If there is joint decision making re: school, the two of you need to agree on it. If you do not agree, then you need to refer to your parenting plan re: how to resolve the disagreement. That may involve mediation or arbitration. As a last resort, you can ask the court to modify decision making so that one of you has the authority to make this decision. You should retain an attorney to review your parenting plan and advise you further.

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