The Facts

Father seeks court orders regarding school to be attended by daughter

A couple had a child in 2008 and separated in 2010. The parents had distinctly different world views, with the mother being deeply religious, while the father was not religious at all. After the separation, the couple managed to negotiate arrangements for sharing the care of the child.

In November 2012 the father took legal action against the mother, seeking interim orders binding the parties in relation to the school that their child would attend.

Mother enrols daughter in Christian school

Despite the existence of the unresolved dispute over the child's future school, two days before the beginning of the 2013 academic year, the mother unilaterally decided to enrol the child at a Christian school situated in reasonable proximity to her home.

The father argued that his daughter should be withdrawn from the Christian school and enrolled in a public school instead, while the mother argued that the child should continue to attend the Christian school.

Case a - The case for the father

Case b - The case for the mother

  • My daughter is currently attending a school whose entire construct is religious instruction. Her exposure to religious beliefs at the school is more akin to indoctrination than instruction.
  • My daughter's life is currently saturated with Christianity. I don't object to her receiving religious instruction, but I feel she receives sufficient instruction from her mother at home and by attending church with her mother on Sundays.
  • If my daughter attends a public school, she will be exposed to a greater diversity of beliefs and practices, which would be to her benefit.
  • My secular beliefs are just as valid as the religious beliefs of my daughter's mother. There has to be sufficient space in my daughter's life for her to be instructed by me about my secular morals and values. This is not possible while my daughter is wholly insulated in a religious environment.
  • I cannot afford to pay the fees of my daughter's current school as I am unemployed. Having our daughter attend a public school is an obvious and practical choice.
  • I am a devout Christian and it is important to me that my daughter attends a school which upholds the same values.
  • It is important for my daughter to receive religious instruction, given that I hold such deep convictions and I share parental responsibility for her.
  • By attending a Christian school, my daughter can be nurtured in a holistic environment where her spirit and soul are nourished and not just her academic needs addressed.
  • My daughter has been making excellent progress at her current school and she should continue to attend it.

So, which case won?
Cast your judgment below to find out

Vote case A – the case for the father
Vote case B – the case for the mother

Simone Timbs
Family law
Stacks Law Firm

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