Notice and Consent When Parents Have Joint Custody

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Question: What is a district obligated to do with regard to shared custody when requesting permission to evaluate? Can the district communicate with just one parent and rely on that parent’s response?

Answer: When parents have joint custody, notice to both parents is the right way to go, unless it is quite clear from a parent’s own written statement that he or she does not wish to play any role in the child’s education. When consent is required, consent from either parent is sufficient. Either parent can pursue a due process hearing.

Discussion: When a student has parents who are separated or divorced, questions regarding the special education process should be approached in two steps:

- First, what does the law require of a school district when dealing with an intact, two-parent family?

- Second, should the answer be any different in light of the fact that the parents are separated or divorced?

Often, the answer to the first question is the most important, because the law usually does not change when the parents are separated or divorced. Also, school districts should distinguish between notice and consent. The rules for notice are not the same as the rules for consent, so the answer may not be the same for notice questions as for consent questions.

Please see full article below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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