What rights do I have to challenge my daughter’s mother’s decision to send my daughter to a special boarding school?

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What rights do I have to challenge my daughter’s mother’s decision to send my daughter to a special boarding school?

I have a 5 year old daughter that is legally blind. She started kindergarten this year in a public school but is already having issues and it is believed that she will need to attend a special needs school. I have joint legal custody and the mother has sole physical custody. The mother and daughter live in one state and I live in another. The mother wants to send my daughter to a school for the blind; if this happens she would stay at the school 5 days a week and come home on the weekends because the school is 3 hours away and is the only one, whereas in my state there is a special needs school in every county. So if my daughter lived with me, there would be no need for her to be away from home 5 days at a time. Can I file any sort of motion to re-evaluate the best interests of our daughter? I understand that education is very important, however I feel that family interaction and bonding is just as critical in the development of a child.

Asked on October 3, 2012 under Family Law, Michigan

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Courts do encourage interaction with family, especially for special needs children.  If your ex-wife doesn't like your plan, then you do have a basis for filing a motion to modify the custody orders.  Before you do so, however, have you ducks lined up in a row--specifically, be able to show that the schools in your area are just as good as the schools that your ex- is intending to send her to.  Also be able to show the resources that are available in your home to care for her.  The more preplanning that you have in hand the more it will show that this isn't just a custody ploy, but rather a way to keep a child in close contact with her family.


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