Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

Pennsylvania Child Custody Issues: Home Schooling

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When parents divorce the child custody dispute is likely the hardest issue to deal with. In Pennsylvania child custody cases, judges must apply the best interest of the child standard, meaning they will take into account a number of factors to evaluate which household would be the best place for the child to spend a majority of their time. Many people question whether the judge will take into consideration each parent's ideology and whether they plan to teach their children those practices.

Some cases involve a more unique question in which they ask whether a judge would prefer one parent to the other because of their choice in where the child would go to school. For instance, some parents are concerned that their soon to be ex-spouse will get primary custody of their children because that parent plans to place the children in a traditional school, whereas the other parent seeks to home school their children. A case in Pennsylvania, Staub v. Staub, as well as cases in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Michigan, and most recently in Kansas, have addressed this issue.

In the Pennsylvania case, the father asked the appeals court to "adopt a clear but narrow rule that requires children to attend public schools when parents who share legal custody cannot agree on home schooling versus public schooling." The court, however, "decline[d] to adopt such a rule or presumption. To the contrary, we hold that the well-established best interests standard, applied on a case by case basis, governs a court's decision regarding public schooling versus home schooling."

The Pennsylvania family law court expressly rejects the preference of traditional schooling over home schooling. The judges' indicate that the best interest of the child needs to be individually analyzed. The cases from North Carolina and New Hampshire, on the other hand, endorse a preference for not home schooling children.

Your Pittsburgh child custody attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates are very familiar with the number of factors taken into consideration when deciding what is in the best interest of the child and can inform you about these factors. Contact our office today to set up an appointment if you are facing a Pennsylvania child custody case.

Sources: The Washington Post & Staub v. Staub

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