New TN Law Allows Joint Custodial Parents to Choose School Zone

Posted on: July 30, 2019

With the new school year upon us, it is important to note the changes made in Tennessee law affecting schools and students.   Numerous changes have been made this year that can be reviewed at the attached link.

Of note, a 50 question civics test drawn from the citizenship test administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be taken with students being required to get at least 70 percent right to receive their diploma.  They can take the online test multiple times and the goal is to build a more informed citizenry.

The state is also making a one-year return to paper testing for the annual TNReady assessment while Tennessee switches to its new testing company, and Gov. Bill Lee’s initiative to beef up vocational or career technical education to give students more opportunities for work-based learning and apprenticeships also begins this year.

For divorced parents, many are forced into the difficult decision of school zones for kids in an ever-changing world with lots of movement.  Schools have historically required court documentation from a divorced couple to determine the proper school zone and insist the child be zoned for the school of the primary residential parent.  This requirement has often meant parents must return to court to modify their parenting plan.  Beginning this month, divorced parents who share 50-50 custody of a child may choose which parent’s address to use when placing their student in a zoned school without the need to return to court, without consideration of any designation of a primary parent.  The parents must have a parenting plan and agree on their school choice. If the student lives outside a school’s zone, the family is responsible for providing transportation.  If this is a situation you find yourself in, it is always in your best interest to consult an attorney.  Even though this decision can take place outside of court, it can have long term ramification and it is best to consult an attorney in advance.

This month’s post is by Attorney Jay Barger.  Jay focuses his practice on social security disability, family and business law, and personal injury.
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Posted in: Blog | Child Custody & Adoption | Divorce