School Enrollment: Parents who do not live in the same city, the child is in joint custody and parents do not reach an agreement on the choice of the school…what to do?

When such a situation arises, legal proceedings can be initiated to resolve the issue. Indeed, whether there is a custody judgment or not, whether they were married or common-law partners, both parents are holders of parental authority over their children, unless they have been deprived of it. Note that even if a child is in the custody of one parent, the other parent, although he or she does not have the primary role of care of the child, has the parental authority and must be consulted on all matters of importance concerning the child, including the choice of school.

Hence, it is up to both parents to jointly exercise parental authority over their children and decide on all issues concerning religion, education, health, medical care, well-being of children, etc. The parties must consult each other and jointly decide, in the best interest of their child, on the most appropriate measures depending on the circumstances.

However, according to Article 604 of the Civil Code of Québec, “in the case of difficulties relating to the exercise of parental authority, the person having parental authority may refer the matter to the court, which will decide in the interest of the child after fostering the conciliation of the parties”.

Thus, the issue relating to school choice is an important one and if the parents cannot reach an agreement, either parent can submit a request to the Superior Court of Québec in order for a judge to decide, with regard to the child’s best interest, on which school the child will be registered to.

If the circumstances warrant it and if a child is under the parental authority until his majority, which is 18 in Québec, any decision rendered may be revised at any time by the Court.

Text written by Me Virginie Damien / Translated by Andrey Leshyner