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We disagree on virtual learning for next year, what do we do?

     One issue that parents are facing right now is whether to sign their child up for in-person or virtual school for the next school year. If the parents disagree, what happens? In family law, this type of decision is considered a legal custody issue. If one parent has sole legal custody, then that parent gets to decide. If the parents share joint legal custody, they need to have a discussion and come to an agreement.  If they cannot come to an agreement, then a parent should file a motion for the court to make the determination. If the motion goes before the referee or judge, the court will determine which option is in the best interests of the child.

     Some important issues for a parent to consider are the age of the child—high school students tend to have skills better suited to an online learning environment than a kindergartener. How the child has been doing over the last year with online learning, some children have thrived in that environment and many have really struggled? The health of the child is also something to consider-does the child’s pediatrician believe in person school is not safe for this particular child? Parents can also consider the resources that a child can obtain in school versus at home, like access to additional resources for reading and free meals at school.  

   It is important to note that parents should not delay in addressing this issue. School districts have already begun registration for the next school year and there may be a cut-off date for choosing virtual learning. The law does not move quickly; it takes time to prepare a motion, file it, and have a hearing. If the school district’s deadline passes, then it’s likely that child will miss out unless the school district makes an exception. The family law court cannot order the school district to admit the student, the family law court issues an order that tells the parents what they must do, and timing is important in this situation.

How can we help you resolve this issue? Do you have questions regarding important decisions that you make with your co-parent? Email, click here or call (248) 962-3729 to make an appointment to speak with an attorney.

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