Family Divorce Lawyer: Updating School Choice and Learning Needs

With the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering schools and changing educational options, your previously agreed-upon divorce agreements might need to be updated. A family divorce attorney can help you negotiate with your ex-spouse to create an education plan that works for your children.

1. School Choice

One of the most contested issues of a divorce involving children can be deciding where they'll attend school. This issue has been exacerbated by COVID-19 school closures and delays.

Although you and your ex-spouse might agree on a particular school, this agreement was likely negotiated with traditional, in-person, classes in mind. If the school you originally chose is no longer the best option, your family divorce attorney can draw up the paperwork required to formally make the change to your existing divorce settlement. If you and your ex-spouse can not agree on a suitable alternative, your family divorce attorney can facilitate mediation. During the mediation sessions, your family divorce attorney can suggest compromises and insert clauses into the agreement that adjust for potential COVID contingencies.

2. Learning Needs

In the COVID-19 pandemic, learning needs have shifted. If your child isn't able to attend in-person classes, extracurricular events, and/or receive tutoring, the learning plan you established in your initial divorce settlement may no longer work.

You and your ex-spouse might not agree on the risk versus benefit tradeoff of the learning options available to your family. In most cases, courts will favor the "safer" option. So, unless your child is old enough to clearly articulate their learning needs, the party advocating for remote learning options will likely win the argument. However, if your child struggles to learn remotely, your family divorce attorney can insert language about making the switch to in-person learning if COVID cases reach a certain threshold and/or if your child's teacher(s) become vaccinated.

Logistical Concerns

3. Learning remotely can create some obvious logistical challenges. If remote learning creates logistical challenges that upset the custody sharing agreement you and your ex-spouse negotiated, your family divorce attorney can renegotiate your agreement to make it more equitable and feasible.

If your job prevents you from providing homeschooling and/or supervising remote learning, your ex-spouse will gain more time with your children. You can offset this time imbalance by negotiating for extra weekends or holidays during the school year. Additionally, your family divorce attorney can create an agreement that ends or adjusts the moment your child can attend in-person learning.