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Homeschooling, Divorce, and Child Custody

Recently, the Journal Star reported that the number of Illinois parents choosing to homeschool is increasing. The reasons are varied, as are the methods, but sentiment is usually the same: parents who choose to homeschool feel they are best suited to meet their children's educational needs. However, what happens if that couple decides to divorce and, during the process, one parent decides that homeschooling is no longer the best educational path for their children? Who gets to decide? 

Illinois Homeschooling Laws

The state of Illinois is considered a "free state," which essentially means that homeschooled families have the power to choose what their child's education will look like. There are no set times or days, curriculum and materials or mediums can be selected by the parent, and there is essentially no state intervention. The only real stipulation is that the child must be provided with an education that includes the same core subjects as public schools-language arts, biological and physical sciences, mathematics, physical development and health, fine arts, and social sciences. These subjects must be taught by a competent parent in the English language.

Homeschooling and Divorce Disputes

Despite the recent changes to Illinois' divorce and custody laws, arguments between parents on what is in the best interest of the child will occur. In some cases, this may simply be a symptom of the emotional stress and anger experienced during divorce. In others, arguments regarding how the child is cared for (or, in this instance, educated) by the other parent may be used to gain more favor with the court. Either way, the child is the one who gets caught in the middle, and they are most often the ones to suffer during and after divorce when parents are unable to reach an agreement.

Determining the Child's Best Interest

Whenever parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding the care, education, or living arrangements of a child, the Family Court must step in to make the decision for them. This can be problematic in the sense that, even though the best efforts are made to determine what is in the best interest of the child, the judge is not the child's parent. He or she may not be able to fully understand the child's individual needs, the dynamics of the family, or the reasons why they started homeschooling in the first place. As such, it is critical that parents attempt to resolve such disputes themselves rather than relying on the courts to do so.

Get Skilled and Experienced Help with Your Divorce

If you are going through a divorce or planning on filing, please contact the skilled and experiencedWheaton, Illinois family law attorneys of The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. Committed and dedicated to protecting your best interests and the interests of your children, our attorneys can help you throughout the entire process. Call 630-462-9500 to schedule your initial consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.pjstar.com/article/20160321/NEWS/160329931/?Start=2

http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/issues/p/parental_rights_custody_disputes.asp

http://www.isbe.net/homeschool/

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1776 S. Naperville Road - Building B, Suite 202
Wheaton, IL 60189

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