One issue that comes up from time to time in a West Virginia divorce case is whether a child or children should be homeschooled. It’s become much more prevalent nowadays because of the escalation of COVID. Sometimes you have one parent that wants the child to stay home and be homeschooled. Then, you have the other parent that wants the child to go to a public school or private school. One of the things that you have to look at first is an event that there was a court order in place. The court order should include who has decision-making when it comes to education. Now, typically it is going to be joint decision making, but not always. If it is found to be the decision making on the part of one person or the other, that person is solely going to decide on whether a child is homeschooled.
If you’re just now going through the divorce process or you have joint decision-making, then it becomes a lot more problematic and difficult to deal with. You are going to have arguments on both sides as to whether homeschooling should or should not be found to be appropriate in a given circumstance. Worst case scenario what’s going to happen is if you cannot reach an agreement or resolution on that issue, both sides would get a chance to present to the judge whether they think homeschooling is in the best interest of the child.
Another example is let’s say you cannot reach an agreement and there’s already a parenting plan in place. Somebody would have to file for a modification or the appropriate motion with the court if it’s not resolved. If it’s not resolved through mediation, you would go in front of the judge and then the judge would decide. The same thing applies if you are just now going through a divorce and one parent wants to homeschool and the other parent doesn’t. I can tell you as a general rule of thumb, in my experience, the courts are more inclined, at least the judges I’ve been in front of, to go with an alternative other than homeschool if one of the parents is objecting to it. It’s just how the system is set up. Perhaps the judges look at it from the perspective of, well I feel safer if the child is in a public school or private school setting where they can be monitored. Anyways, that’s just generally what the courts do. Our statutes are set up such that when it comes to issues like that, the judges are usually going to decide when people cannot reach an agreement. There’s no stipulation in the order about who decides.
The big takeaway you need to take from this is that the judges are usually inclined not to allow a child to homeschool. Though it is certainly up to the judge to determine one way or the other whether that is in the best interest of the child. That consists of today’s topic. If you have any questions at all, feel free to give us a call at (304) 720 4412 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.