Child Custody and Visitation – Private School for Children

A Child Custody and Visitation case involving private schooling was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. The father sought to enroll the children in a private Christian school. The final judgment of dissolution of marriage awarded the parents shared parental responsibility for the children. In 2017, the children attended public school at Palmetto Middle School and Palmetto Elementary School. The parents could not agree on which middle school the children should attend. The mother preferred Palmetto Middle School and the father wanted the children to attend a private Christian school. The father stated that he was willing to pay for the cost for the children to attend the private school.

The mother filed a motion for contempt of court against the father for taking one of the children to be tested to determine his eligibility to attend the private school. The father filed a motion in which he requested that court order the children to attend private school. The father alleged that the mother refused to even discuss the children’s enrollment in the private school. The father argued that the private school was in the children’s best interests and that it was a better fit for the children. The trial court ruled in favor of the father and permitted the children to attend private school. The court required the mother to cooperate with its decision and denied the mother’s motion for contempt.

Regarding Child Custody and Visitation, the Florida Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court and ruled that when the parents are awarded shared parental responsibility and are unable to reach an agreement on a decision affecting the children’s welfare, they should present the issue to a trial court for resolution. The trial court is then vested with the responsibility of making the determination as to what is in the best interests of the children. The best interests of the children are the standard that trial courts are to utilized to in making determinations concerning the welfare of the children. The Court ruled that the father had the ability to pay for the private schooling and that it was not error for the trial court to make its determination ten months prior to the date that school was going to start and three weeks prior to the deadline to apply.

To speak with a Child Custody and Visitation attorney in Wellington, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 363-3400.