(CN) – A Florida mother convinced an appeals court not to resolve a custody dispute by forcing her child to attend private school for the first half of the school year and public school in a different county for the second half.
Andrea Otto-Jones and her ex-husband, Rueben T. Jones, have been involved in protracted litigation over which school their child should attend. Ultimately, the trial court ordered the half-and-half situation.
Otto-Jones appealed, and the Lakeland-based Second District Florida Court of Appeals agreed with her that the arrangement did serve the child’s interest.
“We understand the trial court’s frustration with the parties, whom it found engaged in repeated and unnecessarily vexatious litigation regarding the educational decision making for the child,” Judge James Whatley wrote for the court.
“However, we must reverse the order because there was no evidence that this rotating school schedule is in the best interest of the child,” he added.
The case will return to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing as to which school is better for the child: the public school in Hillsborough County or the private school in Pinellas County.