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Ellen, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  25 years of experience helping people like you.
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Is missing school joint legal custody matter?

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Is missing school joint legal custody matter?
*This chat is not intended as legal advice. It is general information that may or may not apply to your situation and should not be relied upon.*


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will do whatever I can to answer your questions!

So that I can provide you with the most accurate information, please tell me:
1. What is your child's age?
2. Why is your child missing school?
3. Does your child miss school with the consent of the other parent?
4. What does your parenting plan state regarding education?
5. What else do you think it would be in court and for me to know to properly respond?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So that I can provide you with the most accurate information, please tell me:
1. What is your child's age?


twins - 11 years old

2. Why is your child missing school?


my ex-wife is taking them to London on a trip for a week over memorial day, neither asked or consulted me, just told me.


then this weekend she took them out of school on Friday and today for Greek Easter and again did not ask me, after I requested that she not to take them out of school again without asking me.

3. Does your child miss school with the consent of the other parent?


yes, see above

4. What does your parenting plan state regarding education?


during school year kids live with mother, and I have visitation rights for all holidays and vacation and multiple other weekends.


While she is free to make day to day decisions regarding the kids as they are living with her, we have shared legal custody and regarding decisions pertaining to the "welfare" of the children - which IMHO covers taking your children out of school all the time.

5. What else do you think it would be in court and for me to know to properly respond?


Well........ We used to have shared custody...then she told me that she had to move from Virginia to Philadelphia for work purposes, and could not stay. So I moved with my new wife and kid to Philly. then she told me that she was not moving...and it was too late for me to stay as I had already moved. We went to court and I represented myself (she went after me for "abandonment" among other things) and I won in a huge landslide where the judge told her to stop being so ridiculous and in her view she had deceived me into moving and the judge would seriously consider giving me custody (which I did not want at the time as they had just gotten into a new AP Program school). The judge awarded me very good visitation rights and we have shared legal custody. Since then she has flagrantly disregarded my parental rights and done whatever she wants - this being the latest example. I feel if I do not do something it is just going to get worse and she will soon stop me from even seeing them (she already stops them from talking to me on the phone - and refuses to give them cell phones).


Thank you for your information.

11-year-old children are required by law to attend school unless they are unable to attend due to illness. Therefore the mother appears to be encouraging and condoning truancy. Regardless of the custody arrangement, it is not in the children's best interest to break the law. Therefore this is a matter that is within your purview as a parent with joint legal custody

Please click reply to continue the conversation if I have not addressed your question in full

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi there:


sorry - thought that I had replied to this.


I am happy with your answer, and the size of my tip will be determined by how you answer this:


What motion should I be filing in court in order to get a judgement to stop her from just taking the kids out of school whenever she wants?







Your ex is not complying with the mandatory education laws by taking the children out of school for nonexcused absences. You can petition the court for custody indicating that encouraging children to miss school is not in their best interest. Alternatively you can consider a contempt action to compel your ex to adhere to the order and consult you before electing to take your children out of school.

I would be glad to respond to any related follow-up questions that you may have.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am considering petitioning the court for a change in custody. My ex tricked me into moving away from my children and the court recognized that last time - in fact the judge specifically told me to state for the transcript that the only reason that I was in favor of allowing my ex to have custody was that they had just gotten into AP school and that it would not be in their interests to move them at that time - but that I believed that the best interests of the children would be to live with me. I have been remarried for over 5 years and have a 3 year old son, whom the kids adore and he adores them and asks about them every single day. We tell him that his brother and sister are at school and of course all he wants to do is go to school with them.


my ex is a leading surgeon in the DC area. She plays on this heavily in the court room and this benefited her in the first trial, but not the second. Fact is, she has a full time nanny and is rarely at home to spend time with the children - not when they get up in the morning, nor when they get home for school. She also travels to conferences and on trips and leaves the children with the nanny, which I believe in itself is a violation of the agreement with the nanny program she uses, and may be illegal.


the problem is that she controls and threatens the children and they are petrified to say anything bad or to move here because of the consequences and reaction from their mother.


So the question is, given all of this, and the fact that my children will be 12 this month, are they old enough for a judge to take into consideration of where they want to live, or are they too young for that?


If not, I have a huge uphill battle on my hands, in another State, and I am not sure that I can deal with it right now.


I am happy to answer this in a new question if you want, and will tip you for this in any event,


Thank you




Hi James,

Virginia Statute states the factors that the court must consider in determining the best interests of the child for custody and visitation. The court is required to consider the preference of the child if the court determines the child to be "of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference" . Typically by age 12 a child is able to clearly and maturely articulate her preferences and will be heard by a court.

Here is a link to the statute where you can review the factors that the court must consider in determining custody:
Virginia Statute § 20-124.3

The site rules do require that you open a new question page for each new question . I would be happy to answer any additional questions that you may have. You can direct your question to me by starting a new question page with: "For FiveStarLaw"

Best regards,

Ellen and 3 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you very much for the "excellent service" rating and the bonus!

If I can be of assistance in the future, begin your question with: "For FiveStarLaw"

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