Skip to main content

Do I need my ex's permission to change our children's school if I am the custodial parent and have joint legal custody?

Garden Grove, CA |

My children currently attend a school near my work and my ex's home. Due to an employment change, I would like to change their school to one closer to my home -- about 40 miles away. My ex has visitation one weekday and every other weekend.

Attorney Answers 2


Absolutely. With a joint legal custody order, you BOTH must mutually make decisions regarding the children's health, education and welfare, etc. Failing to do so can have severe consequences, including but not limited to your ex filing an OSC and requesting a change in custody.

Talk with your ex. If there is an agreement, get it in writing and signed by the Court (if possible) - you can do that via stipulation and order.

If she refuses and it is a true burden on you, you can file your OSC and request permission from the Court to change schools, but keep in mind that changing schools is oftentimes frowned upon by the Court because it disrupts the children's stability, social and peer groups, etc. and Courts sometimes may modify and/or change the visitation and/or custody orders to permit the child to stay in his or her school (with the other parent). There are a host of factors that the Court considers, but you MUST get your ex's permission prior to changing schools.

The information contained is general in nature, and may not apply to your particular factual or legal circumstances. The materials do not constitute legal advice or opinions and should not be relied up on as such. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Please seek professional counsel as nothing contained herein is intended to be a substitute for legal counsel.

Mark as helpful


Review your custody order, or judgment, carefully. Does it say that mutual agreement is required to change school enrollment? If so, then you're violating the order if you change the school enrollment without the agreement of your ex.

I suggest that you see if you can negotiate an AGREED change of school enrollment, in writing; otherwise, you may need to consult an experienced family law attorney and go back to court to make this happen.

Mark as helpful

Child custody topics

Recommended articles about Child custody

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics