May 13, 2009 Rights of Non-Custodial Parents Regarding the Education of Their Children
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
We want to make you aware of a recent decision of New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, concerning the involvement and rights of non-custodial parents in decisions concerning the education of their children. In Fuentes v. Board of Education of the City of New York, the Court held that a non-custodial parent does not have the right to make decisions regarding his/her child’s education unless the divorce decree and custody order expressly convey that authority. If the decree and order are silent on the issue, the non-custodial parent does not have the right to participate in educational decisions. The non-custodial parent, however, continues to have the right to be involved in, and kept apprised of, the child’s educational progress.
The Fuentes decision is consistent with the advice we have long provided that, absent specific language in a divorce decree or custody order to the contrary, non-custodial parents are allowed to request their children’s educational records and participate in their children’s schooling, but decision making authority rests with the custodial parent.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the implications of this decision.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP, 2009