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Mississippi custody laws: who gets to choose the child’s school?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Child Custody |

A child’s school plays an essential role in their growth and development. A school’s curriculum, teachers and overall environment largely influence a child’s behavior and character. This is why parents thoroughly research school backgrounds and opportunities to ensure their child gets the best education.

It is extra difficult, however, for separated parents to decide on their child’s school, especially if there is a clash in choices. In this case, who gets to choose where the child goes to school?

Joint custody is the rebuttable presumption

In Mississippi, courts give preference to joint legal custody to allow both parents to actively participate in deciding important decisions about the child’s life, such as health care and education. This means that both parents must agree on a school when deciding about the child’s education. One parent cannot decide without informing the other.

When the presumption does not stand

In certain situations, the presumption does not apply. And when this happens, courts can award sole legal custody to one of the parents. With sole legal custody, that parent can resolve major life decisions regarding the child’s life without input from the other parent. Some circumstances that rebut the presumption include the following:

  • History of family violence
  • Existence of mental illness
  • Record of or ongoing substance abuse

It is important to note that it is still possible for parents with records of the circumstances above to receive legal custody. The courts usually allow this if that parent shows improvement and willingness to care for the child. This includes completing treatment and discontinuing violence. Of course, evidence is necessary to prove that such is the case. At the end of each custody case, the courts will prioritize the option that is in the child’s best interests.