Distance Learning and Child Custody in California

With the re-opening (or non-re-opening) of schools in California, parents have had to determine whether they want their kids to learn in-person or follow a remote learning plan. While this may be an easy decision for parents who are still together, divorced parents have to consider how this will affect their custody agreement.

What to Do When You Disagree

Parents who disagree on whether or not their child should go to school in-person or online are the worst predicament. Some schools in California are going entirely online for the fall semester, so those joint-custody parents are safe. Those who are not in these areas should consider the arguments for and against distance learning during the pandemic and come to a decision together.

Discuss the Lesson Plan

If the kids are learning at two different houses on different days of the week, they’re likely going to get confused. Come up with a lesson plan that both parents can maintain. Students will feel comfortable if they know that their parents have similar plans to teach them wherever they go. This will also help them prepare for when they go back to in-person school. If one parent does not want to teach, set up an agreement in which the kids will go there on non-school days.

Make a Custody Plan

 Because Covid-19 is still alive and well in California, set up a custody plan before kids go back to school. Determine where they will spend breaks and what safety measures they should take. The major issues with the school schedule will come when the children have time off. Addressing the situation beforehand and preparing for all scenarios will help parents avoid future arguments.

If You Still Can’t Agree

There are notable topics to discuss when it comes to remote learning, but if parents still can’t agree, they should consult an outside source. Talk to a family attorney or visit a family mediation center to hash out the details of remote learning. Be prepared to discuss why you have your opinion and why it will most benefit the kids. Don’t become consumed with explaining why the other parent’s plan won’t work. Though parents may have differing opinions, they are still co-parents that should respect each others’ wishes and find a plan that works for them.

Don’t Worry About Custody          

A parent that works during remote learning hours cannot be punished or lose custody of their kids. Co-parents should talk the situation out and decide on a plan that works for them. Custody cannot be removed due to remote learning, so parents should feel free to express any concerns or opinions they may have on the issue.

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