For any parent, deciding on a particular school for your child can be a difficult and tedious decision. Parents take many things into account such as school rankings, extracurricular activities, school transportation, and the distance from home. For parents who share legal custody, the decision regarding school choice can be even more complex and conflicted if the parties do not agree.  Court will take into account numerous factors and considerations when deciding on a school.

Legal vs. Physical Custody

Under Minnesota law, there are two different types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody refers to the day-to-day care of a child and generally dictates where the child resides. However, the decision of school choice falls under legal custody. Legal custody relates to the right to make decisions about how the child will be raised. This may include topics such as healthcare, religion, and education. If parents have joint legal custody, the parents must agree on a school or bring the matter before the court. 

Best-Interest of the Child

The courts ruling regarding school choice will be based on the best interest of the child. The problem arises when both parents have different ideas of what is in the best interest of their joint child. To decide on a child’s school, the judge will use a specific set of statutes to establish what is in best interest of a child.  The statutes include topics such as:

  • Child’s needs. Minnesota courts will assess how the school choice will affect the child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, medical, educational, and other needs.
  • Child’s preference. The court may take into consideration the child’s preference of schools if the judge determines the child has the ability and maturity to make an independent preference.
  • Parental history. The judge will take into consideration any past domestic abuse or any parental physical, mental, or chemical health issues, which effect the child’s safety and developmental needs.
  • Caring for Child. The history and nature of parental involvement will be carefully considered when assessing school choice. Courts will also look for a willingness of each parent to provide care in the best interest of the child.
  • Relationship maintenance. The judge will take into consideration how the school choice would impact the child’s relationships with each parent, sibling and other prominent individuals in the child’s life.

Whether you are striving to change schools or would like to adhere to a previous choice regarding school, our family law attorneys can help. Our legal team has the necessary skill and experience to help you receive the best possible outcome to your matter. Contact our firm today at (763) 323-6555 or submit an online contact inquiry through our website.

Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper