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Who gets to choose school?

(4 Posts)
VaVaBroom Sun 24-Apr-16 21:14:00

My exp split from me when ds was 6 months old. Ds is now 9. His dad has always contributed financially, seen him regularly etc He met a new partner about 3 years ago and moved into the country about an hour from our small town. Ds had been going to private school in our town but too expensive (dad paying) and we wanted him to have another experience of school so I agreed for him to go to village school about half way between our houses where daughter of exp's new partner was going. (She is same age as ds.) Has turned out to be a big mistake on my part, traffic at my end means much longer to go to and from school, no regular bus so can only drive there. I got a full time job and trying to get childminder who would drive there etc was nightmare, no-one in ds's class lives in our town so has no friends nearby. I have to commute so meant more time away from ds. To make matters worse, ds hasn't really enjoyed being there and teaching has been disappointing in many ways. Has been fine for xp on the other hand as is financially supporting new partner so can leave her to do pickups, much quicker from their house, children from school do live nearer to him etc
I am now looking ahead to secondary school and don't want to make the same mistake again: have resolved that ds should go to school in our town. To me really important that as ds becomes a teenager, he has friends and social circle close by, can make his own way to school by walking, on bus, lifts etc. His dad is his own boss so much more flexible and works two days a week in our town anyway so could pick up etc. But exp is now kicking off about him going to school in this town - I guess he wants him to go to same school as new partner's child and doesn't care if school is miles away again. Obviously if there was a school that was convenient for both of us that would be ideal but we live in different places. He chose to leave - both me and the town! - and I think that in this case, the bottom line has to be somewhere that suits me and my son first. Anyone else had experience of similar conflict and how did you resolve it?
We're going to go to mediation but I feel so strongly about this, I'm beginning to think what do I need to do to go to court if it comes to that?!

MattDillonsPants Mon 25-Apr-16 06:22:45

I would think that as you have main custody, that you have the final choice. If he chose to he could take it to court but no sensible court would find in his favour.

Mediation should help him see that your way is best for DS.

Fourormore Mon 25-Apr-16 07:33:16

You'd need a specific issue order if it goes to court. The custody minefield website is helpful for reading about what's involved in that.

lostdad Mon 25-Apr-16 09:44:37

All parents with PR have a right to `consulted' on the matter.

I would agree with MattDillonsPants - try mediation to resolve things. There is nothing to stop you telling him what you are doing, going ahead with it and claiming this constitutes `consulting' him and I see plenty of resident parents doing that.

Of course, if he feels strongly enough about it he could take the matter to court as Fourormore says for a Specific Issues Order to address things. If it comes to this it will likely be argued you are ignoring Dad's PR and are acting unilaterally and the court will be left to decide what to do.

It's better to try to resolve things via mediation because a) it's cheaper b) you are actually more in control of the process than if you go to court c) it minimises bad feeling down the line.

You may well have disagreed with your ex about your child's schooling had you remained together but you would have worked in their best interests - the fact you are separated should not change this. Too many people take the attitude `I can do what I like and he/she can't stop me' only to deepen the acrimony they may already be experiencing.

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