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How joint custody impacts where a child attends school

If two Pennsylvania parents have joint physical custody and live in separate residences, they may have questions as to where their child will attend school. If a parenting plan was agreed on and put into place at the time of the divorce, issues regarding the child's education likely were decided at that time and the parenting plan will govern any schooling decisions. If there is no parenting plan in place, the parents cannot agree on a school or one parent is seeking a change to what was agreed upon, the issue can become more complicated.

Under Pennsylvania law, a child may attend school in a district where he or she resides. This means that a parent must maintain a residence in that district. However, it does not necessarily need to be the child's primary residence. Take, for instance, parents that share physical custody but live in different school districts. The mother has custody 60 percent of the time and the father has custody 40 percent of the time. Regardless of the custody agreement, the child could still attend school in the district where the father resides. As long as the child spends several nights a week at the residence in the school district, they are eligible to attend school in that district.

If no agreement can be reached between the parents, then the issue may end up being litigated in court. A judge will probably take each school district's rating, as well as the distance from each school from the parents' home and work, into consideration when making a decision.

In other cases, the parents may maintain separate residences in the same school district. In that case, questions regarding transportation to each of the student's homes may arise. In that instance, according to Penn Live, school districts are required to provide bussing to both of the student's homes.

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108 North Washington Ave, Suite 604
Scranton, PA 18503

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