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Who decides on schooling if we can’t agree?

July 25, 2023

Who decides on schooling if we can’t agree?

Separation and divorce come with many life changes, such changes having the potential to impact your child’s school.

These changes include financial issues (the children may have been attending a private school, and due to the separation, this is no longer a viable option) or the parent with the children’s primary care may have to relocate a significant distance from the current school. If you find yourself in a situation where you and the other parent cannot agree on a school, and it is left up to the Court to decide, you will most likely find yourself asking, ‘how does the Court determine which school?’.


In the case of Re G: Children’s Schooling [2000] FamCA462, the Court was asked to decide on the child’s schooling. Whilst there had been many cases before it on the issue, the Court in Re G identified a list of factors that should be considered when asked to decide on schooling. These factors are:

  1. The views of the child/ren, any change to the current arrangements and any impact a change may have on the child from having to leave their friendship group (this will be more so relevant if the child/ren are already attending a school);
  2. The costs of each school proposed and the capacity of the parents to afford the school;
  3. The time required of the child to travel (and also the impact on any parent doing the travelling);
  4. Whether the child has siblings that attend (or will attend) the same school as the child.


The list of factors provided by Re G are not an exhaustive list, and the Court can take into consideration any other matters it considers necessary on a case-by-case basis to determine the best interests of a child – for example, whilst not a factor in Re G, religion may be an important consideration in determining the child’s schooling, or if the child has not yet commenced attending school, school catchment zones will be an important factor.  


If you find yourself in a situation where you and the other parent cannot agree on schooling arrangements or would like more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and one of our experienced family lawyers can assist you and provide you with comprehensive advice. Contact us via phone (03) 9279 6800 or email at theteam@umbrellafamilylaw.com.au.

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