My child is being bullied at school – can I change their school if my ex-partner doesn’t agree?


When parties separate, often parents will either come to an agreement or enter into orders about the future care and education of their children. In some circumstances, this may mean that parents agree to have their child attend a specific school.

But what if your child is bullied at that school? What if your former partner opposes the child changing schools?

In any parenting dispute, the primary consideration is what is in the best interests of the child.

In previous cases where a child has been bullied, and the parents have been in dispute about whether the child ought to change schools, the court has considered the following when determining whether the bullying warranted the child changing schools:

  • Whether the child was a victim of bullying, and if so, the nature of that bullying;
  • Whether the bullying was impacting on the child’s physical or psychological welfare;
  • The academic performance of the child at the current school;
  • Whether the child had formed social relationships or had close friends at the current school, and the impact a change in schools would have on those relationships;
  • The child’s wishes to change schools;
  • The benefits of the proposed new school (e.g. better mechanisms for dealing with bullying);
  • The travel to the new school (weighed against the benefits to the child of the new school).

Primarily, the court will take action to protect the psychological and physical well-being of a child. If it is in the best interests of the child to change schools, but it will take the parents longer to drive the child to school, the court will place the needs of the child above any geographical inconvenience.

If you are experiencing issues with an agreement or order that is in place between you and your former partner, our experienced family law team can provide advice to assist you to resolve any issues you are experiencing.

This article was co-authored by Law Cadet Taylah Jensen.

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