August is always a tough month for parties going through divorce or custody disputes. In many cases, parties have trouble agreeing on where the children will go to school. The parties may disagree on who is paying the cost of private school if the children do not go to public school. Even further, these custody cases are being complicated by schools not reopening due to COVID-19.
Before school begins in August, many parties end up in court. They file motions to modify or motions for contempt as a result of these issues. The litigation often involves where the children will go to school and who will be paying.
Many custody schedules have it set up where custody exchange revolves around the beginning and ends of school days. In other words, one parent drops off the children at school. The other parent then picks up the kids after school is over.
With COVID-19, many schools not reopening this fall
Instead, many school districts are going to be opening virtually. They are making this decision due to safety reasons. With the spread of COVID-19, school districts are concerned that students and teachers can quickly spread the virus. By opening virtually, many parents now have to homeschool their kids through a virtual program.
In some cases, more parents will end up having face-to-face encounters where they exchange the children because it cannot take place at a school. For many parties, custody exchanges can be a source of dispute. One party could be late for an exchange. Sometimes, somebody may not show up at all. In other cases, parties might engage in verbal discourse that is not productive.
As it relates to virtual schooling, one parent may have a concern that the other parent is not equipped or capable of handling virtual schooling during their custody time. Some parents may be unable to do virtual schooling because they have to work. As a result, it might be that the children have to go with the other parent or the parties might need a tutor or childcare to assist with schooling.
In other situations, one party might wish to send the children to a private school that is going to be open versus sending them to public school, which will not be open. Some parents might be able to agree on private schooling. In other cases, it is foreseeable that the parents might not be able to agree.
For many parties, they might consider engaging in mediation or collaborative law to attempt to resolve these disputes. For others, they may end up having to file a motion to modify to change the existing custody schedule because no agreement can be reached.
COVID-19 has been challenging on many levels. The impact on custody cases with many schools not reopening is, unfortunately, going to be seen for many involved in the family court.
If you are in need of a custody or family lawyer to help with your unique situation, Stange Law Firm, PC can help. You can contact us at 855-805-0595.