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Can you homeschool your child against your ex’s wishes?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Child Custody |

There’s a growing movement toward homeschooling in the United States, for several reasons. Some parents feel like the overcrowded classrooms and lack of resources are providing substandard education, and they can do better at home. Others have safety concerns, due to widespread bullying and violence. Finally, some feel that public education comes with an agenda and indoctrination, and they don’t feel the environment is right for their children.

Regardless of your reasons, can you decide to homeschool your children against your ex-spouse’s or co-parent’s wishes? Does it matter if you are the child’s primary physical custodian during the school year or on weekdays?

You generally either need their support or a court order

In Indiana, physical custody and legal custody are two different things. Physical custody refers to each parent’s actual time with the child in their care. Legal custody gives each parent the right to make decisions about important issues in their child’s life – such as what type of education they receive and the school they attend.

Generally speaking, legal custody is jointly and equally shared between co-parents even when the physical custody is divided differently. That means that co-parents have to have a meeting of the minds when it comes to their children’s education. If your child is currently enrolled in public school, you need to keep them there unless you have your co-parent’s consent to change how they’re educated.

If you’re convinced that homeschooling is in your child’s best interests because it meets some particular need, you can move the issue to litigation and let the court decide. Because that can be a risky endeavor, it helps to seek legal guidance so that you fully understand your options and the odds.

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