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Expert Q&A

What happens when divorced parents disagree on school services for their child with a disability?

What can be done when divorced parents disagree on the subject of testing? We disagree on our son’s eligibility for assistance, if he qualifies.

Our son has Tourette’s Syndrome and a component of it is ADD. He is intelligent, but has difficulties that show up in behavior, and “not working up to his potential”. His grades are inconsistent. His father doesn’t like labels or having the school perform the psycho educational evaluation I requested. I want to know if my son qualifies for any assistance. If not, fine, then some assistance by the school in the form of a 504 plan or some modification, or recommendations to us the parents. We love our child dearly but do not see eye to eye on how to attend to the issues at hand. The school is caught in the middle, as is our son.

Do I have a right to ask for this testing of our son and have it done, whether his father agrees or not? What legal grounds do either parent have? The school? I fear that he will continue to fall through the cracks.

Thank You.

When divorced parents disagree on the subject of testing or services for a child, those disputes must be resolved through the domestic relations or divorce court. School districts are not able to arbitrate disputes between parents over these issues. They must respond based on the decision of the parent who is assigned custody with respect to educational decisions. If both parents have joint custody with respect to educational decisions, the only venue for the parents is to resolve that issue by a Motion in court for change in the custody or settlement as it relates to educational decision making.

For more information on divorce, go to Divorce: It can Complicate Children’s Special Education Issues.

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