School Enrollment in Different Custody and Guardianship Situations
When a child goes to live with the other parent
Enrolling a Child in School When You are not the Child's Custodial Parent
WHEN A CHILD GOES TO LIVE WITH THE OTHER PARENT
The custodial parent usually enrolls the child in school in that parent's district. If the child goes to live with the other parent, the other parent can enroll the child in his or her district.
My ex-wife had custody of our children, but now the court gave me custody. I live in a different school district. What should I do to get my kids enrolled in school?
If you are now the custodial parent, you can enroll the kids in your school district. You should take the court custody papers with you to show the school that you now have legal custody of the children. You should call the school first to see what else you need to bring. (You may need birth certificates, health records, or other papers).
My ex-wife has legal custody of our children, but they are living with me and I want to enroll them in school in my district. What should I do?
Generally, the children should attend school in the district where the custodial parent lives. However, if the children are living with the non-custodial parent, the children should be able to go to school in the non-custodial parent’s school district. There is a form you can use to ask the school to enroll your children. You should contact the school to find out more information about what forms they require in order to enroll your child. You can also contact the Kentucky Department of Education for more information.
ENROLLING A CHILD IN SCHOOL WHEN YOU ARE NOT THE CHILD'S CUSTODIAL PARENT
I am not the parent of a child who is living with me. Can I enroll the child in the school district where I live?
Probably. Usually, a child should attend school in the district where the child's custodial parent lives. However, if the child is living with someone else in a different school district, the child may be able to attend school in that district. If the child is living with you because the custodial parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child, you should be able to enroll the child in your district without a court order of custody or guardianship. However, if the child is living with you ONLY so the child can go to school in your district, you will not be able to enroll the child in your district for free. You may have to pay tuition for the child to attend school in your district.
How do I enroll the child in my district?
You can contact the Kentucky Department of Education for information regarding how to enroll the child in your district school. The Kentucky Department of Education has a website which you can utilize to answer your questions regarding enrollment. You will also most likely have to fill out a form concerning 3rd party custody of the child.
The school says I need to have a legal guardianship from a court. Do I need this?
You should not need to get a legal guardianship through a court to get the child enrolled as long as you meet the requirements listed above and have filled out the form. Make sure you have filled out the form properly and given it to the school.
However, if the facts about why the child is living in your household are in dispute, and it seems like the child is with you only to go to school in your school district, then the school may require you to establish custody. Legal proof of custody would be court papers showing that you have been granted custody in a paternity, dissolution, or guardianship proceeding. If you can prove to the school that the child has been living with you, that you have been providing for the child's needs, and that you do not have the child in your household simply to allow the child to attend school in your district, the school should not require legal proof of custody. Evidence that will be helpful to show the child has been living with you and cared by you can include the following:
- Power of attorney signed by a parent of the child, giving you authority to care for and get services for the child.
- Medical records from doctors or hospitals, showing that you are the person responsible for paying the bills of the child.
- Your apartment lease, showing the child as a member of your household.
- Benefit notices from the Division of Family and Children, showing that the child is receiving TANF, food stamps or other benefits as a member of your household.
- Evidence that the child's parents are incarcerated and unable to care for the child.
- Evidence that the child's parents are in the military and in active service outside this area.
- Any other documents that show that you have been caring for the child, in the role of the child's parent.
If the school refuses to enroll the child, contact the Kentucky Department of Education or an attorney for help. The school is required to accept the child as a student unless there are other reasons for not enrolling the child.
What if a child is living with me only so he can go to school in my district? How do I enroll that child?
You may not be able to enroll that child in your district. You will need to pay tuition for that child to attend in your district. Some schools have a limited number of spots for tuition students. The forms discussed above will not help you get a child enrolled in your district if the only reason the child is with you is to attend school in your district. Even if you get a legal guardianship, the school may not have to enroll the child if the only reason for the guardianship was for the student to attend school in your district.
Reviewed August 2009
- What is Child Custody?
- Can I Ask the Court to Change my Child Custody Order?
- Can the Parent with Custody Move Away with the Child?
- School Enrollment in Different Custody and Guardianship Situations
- Who claims the child as a dependent for tax purposes?
This page has forms you can download to modify custody or primary residence (Jefferson County residents only).
En español: Custodia de los hijos