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Deciding where your child is going to attend school is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a parent. Given the multitude of options, it can be a difficult decision. This can be even more difficult when parents are divorced – especially if they live in different school districts.

In Minnesota, if one parent has “sole” legal custody, he or she gets to make decisions regarding school choice; however, when parents share, (or have “joint”) legal custody, they both have an equal say in which school(s) their children will attend. This is true, even if one of those parents has “sole” physical custody, or has a home that is designated as the children’s “primary residence.

What this means, is that both parents need to participate in the decision about school attendance. Making such a decision unilaterally, without input from the other parent is a bad move. If the parents cannot agree, involving the Court may be necessary. Often, an expert will be retained to assist in making the decision. If a child is already attending a school, the parent wishing to change schools will bear the burden of proving that doing so is in the child’s best interests.

If you and the other parent have decided upon a school, it is best to get the agreement in writing. Although a formal stipulation would be best, even an email or text is admissible as evidence of your agreement.

To discuss school choice, custody, or any family law issue, call Kruse Family Law, PLLC at 612.231.9865 or email

If you have joint legal custody, you cannot make school choice decisions without the other parent's involvement

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