Sharing Custody and Remote Learning: Avoiding the Pitfalls

In many ways, parents had a tougher job in many ways throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with many families experiencing increased financial pressures, parents also have to make difficult decisions about handling their child’s schooling. Many states and local school districts are allowing students to return in person full-time. However, others are opting for either hybrid learning plans, phased re-openings, or distance learning.

Divorced parents who currently share custody of their children have additional considerations on top of this dilemma. In some cases, co-parents may disagree about how to best handle the remote learning issue in terms of child custody and child support. These difficulties can arise due to one or both parents needing to work during the day while their children would normally be attending school.

Parents’ responsibilities when schools go remote

When schools move to full-time and remote distance learning, until those conditions change, parents are expected to handle school work and childcare according to their current custody agreement. Even if one co-parent is not cooperating with helping facilitate a child’s online schooling, the other parent cannot just decide to restrict that parent’s custody.

However, If one parent will not cooperate with their child’s remote learning requirements, the other parent can take certain steps in attempt to resolve the situation. These include:

Communicating with transparency

Communicate freely and transparently with the other parent about your ability (or lack of ability) to help with your child’s remote learning, including explaining your current work situation, your health status, and your ability to provide the required technology and resources.

Address disagreements privately

If it is evident the other parent is not cooperating with the school’s requirements, address the situation in a private manner with the other parent. Do not argue with or disparage the other parent in the presence of your child. This will only make a difficult situation worse for everyone.

Be available to provide necessary support

If you find out the other parent is not providing sufficient supervision or support, you may consider providing remote support from your home after checking in with your child. Be available to provide help as much as possible. It is important that each household does what is possible to provide the necessary technology for the child to learn remotely and secure more equipment from the child’s school as needed.

Get legal help

If you have attempted to take the above steps and the other parent still refuses to help with your child’s remote learning efforts, you may consider contacting an attorney for help. You may be eligible for temporary modifications to your child custody arrangement so your child can adequately complete his or her home remote schooling requirements.

If you need a child support or child custody order modified, the experienced family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates can help. We offer legal representation from our offices in Franklin, Columbia, and Brentwood, TN. To set up a free consultation, call us today at 615.977.9370 or complete our contact form.

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