Co-parenting during any occasion can be difficult, but for divorced parents who have children going back to school during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, parenting can be extremely challenging. This school year looks a lot different from those in the past. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many students participating in online learning rather than returning back to the classroom.
This transition is a lot more difficult than it may sound. Divorced parents may feel overwhelmed with how to manage their children’s education and the decisions they have to make. Co-parenting can be easier if certain steps are taken and communication is open between the parents.
How are School Districts Handling COVID-19?
School districts across the country have been trying to find ways to reopen. Each school district is different, making their school return plans unique to their needs. There are three common plans that school boards have discussed and implemented:
- In-person schooling: Children go back to school like normal with some safety modifications. Masks will be required along with having fewer students in classrooms.
- Virtual learning: Children will learn 100 percent online through video chats and virtual instruction. This will allow children to stay home rather than go to school each day.
- Hybrid schooling: In this scenario, many children will start out with traditional learning and transition to virtual if needed. Some school districts also have a combination of in-person and virtual learning.
What Challenges are Parents Encountering?
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented co-parents with a lot of challenges when it comes to their children’s schooling. Many parents are having a hard time deciding whether or not they want their children going back to school in person.
Depending on the school district, parents may either have to decide what type of learning their child will participate in or be limited to only one option. If co-parents are disagreeing on what to do with their children, the best thing to do is to review the parenting agreement. If one parent has sole child custody, their decision will be the final outcome. If parents have joint custody and cannot come to a decision, they may have to turn to the court for a judge to make the final ruling.
Another challenge that co-parents may face during this time is how to handle childcare. If school districts decide on virtual learning, this could cause a problem with childcare. If both parents work, finding someone to watch their children could be problematic, especially if finances do not allow for outside daycare. If one parent can work from home to take care of the children, that would be helpful. Grandparents and other family members can also be very helpful during this difficult time.
If co-parents have agreed on virtual learning for their children, both parents are expected to help with the daily processes. During visitation, parents are expected to handle childcare and their children’s schoolwork. If a co-parent says they will not help their children with virtual learning, one may request temporary changes in the custody agreement. This will enable children to complete their required school work with the parent that wants to help them.
Why is it Important to Talk to My Children About the School Year?
All of these changes in school and fall activities due to COVID-19 are directly affecting children. It is important to talk to children about what is going on, why it is happening, and what the new processes entail. Children may have more concerns than one may think and need to talk about their worries. Talk to children about what to expect when going back to school, encourage them to follow safety protocols.
Why is it Important for Co-Parents to Agree on Schooling?
Despite the challenges involved in going back to school this fall, co-parents should ensure that they are focusing on their children. If co-parents disagree and fight often, now is not the time to bring up problems. Try and come together to make decisions that best suit the well-being of the children. Children need help and support more than ever. Compromise and open communication is highly important.
One way to keep the focus on the children is to attend any school events they may have. This could be a sporting event, conferences with teachers, or other school-related activities. Children will see that co-parents want to be involved. This is also a great way to put aside issues and support the children.
If co-parents want to modify their current parenting plan, they should speak to a lawyer. A parenting plan may need updating during this unprecedented time.
Towson Child Custody Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Parents with Parenting Plans for the School Year
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your custody agreement, contact one of our Towson child custody lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our team of experienced lawyers will help you with any problems you may have and will work hard to ensure that the best interests of your children are considered. For a free consultation, call us at 443-589-0150 or contact us online. Located in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we serve clients throughout Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Bentley Springs, Columbia, Freeland, Hereford, Hampton, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks Glencoe, Parkton, Phoenix, Pikesville, White Hall, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County.