Monday, July 26, 2021

Change of Schools?

 By:  Katie Cushman

 This can be a popular time of year for this question, not to mention after a pandemic...

What happens when one parent wants to change the school of the minor child(ren)?  

If the parent has sole legal custody, then that parent has 100% of the decision making power and he/she can make the switch.  However, more typically, parents share legal custody (joint legal custody) and in order to change the school of the child(ren), there either needs to be a) an agreement between the parties, or b) the court must hold an evidentiary hearing.  

An evidentiary hearing to determine a change of schools is known as a Lombardo hearing, based upon the case of Lombardo v Lombardo, 202 Mich App 151 (1993).  This case provides that the trial court must make an analysis of the school choice using the Best Interest Factors (MCL 722.23).  This is far more than just a regular motion hearing, it is a trial-type of event where witnesses and exhibits are presented.  School statistics are reviewed and considered by the court.  Expert witnesses are also utilized in this regard.  

Should you have a school issue brewing in your case, time is of the essence... waiting until just before school starts is a problem -- resolving this type of joint legal custody issue is complicated and takes time and strategy.

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