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I want to homeschool. What if my ex objects?

While nearly every child bemoans the return of the school year, for some, the anxiety and stress is a much bigger issue. For children who have developmental, social or academic issues, performing well in school can be a challenge and a source of emotional distress. If this sounds like your child, you may have considered homeschooling as an option but wonder what will happen if your ex disagrees.

While homeschooling is legal in the state of Texas, it's important to understand that the family courts aren't deciding on your legal ability to homeschool your child. Instead, they are concerned with what is in the best interests of your child, and this can be quite subjective. The term "best interests" is a catch-all for the physical, mental, emotional and social well-being of the child and is applicable to all disputes.

If you think that your ex may disagree with your wish to homeschool, it is important to make every attempt to get them on your side. This is especially true for parents who have joint custody. Many people are worried about how the children will keep up with the standards in the public school or socialization issues, and you may be able to address these without having to involve the courts. Offering to have standardized testing done each year or agreeing to join a co-op or participate in some extra-curricular activities may be enough to get your ex to agree to try out homeschooling.

If this doesn't work, you're likely to find yourself in court. At this point, it is very important to have legal representation who is familiar with the family courts and judges and understands how to best present your argument in the light of the best interests of the child.

Source: Texas Home School Coalition, "Home Schooling and Child Custody," Tim Lambert, accessed Aug. 11, 2015

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