COVID-19 and Back-To-School Challenges

By August 11, 2020 COVID-19, Family Law

It’s September. It’s time to go back to school and we are faced with historic and unprecedented challenges due to a widespread virus that our nation is struggling to control. School attendance for the remainder of 2020 and most likely 2021 will be deeply affected by this pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom has made it abundantly clear that unless certain health metrics are met by each county and school district, a return to normal classroom attendance is out of reach. But could this situation actually present a child custody opportunity?

Most school districts, including Alameda and Contra Costa County, will remain closed until further notice. This means that children will attend school remotely through online classes, by homeschooling, or by a combination of both methods.

These schooling methods may provide opportunities for parents to become involved in certain daily responsibilities that are normally overseen by a child’s teachers. Separated or divorced parents with a shared parenting relationship will have the opportunity to collaborate on school assignments and communicate with one another to ensure that each child is progressing with their classwork.

Unfortunately, some parenting situations do not support a collaborative parenting environment. At times, the court must get involved to restructure custody arrangements. Conflicts over scheduling, social distancing protocol, discipline, household rules and routines can mar effective parenting. The court can issue specific orders that will protect the children so the continuity of their home environment and educational process can become more consistent.

The courts remain open and accessible through video platforms, thereby enabling parents court access to change or modify custody parenting arrangements to meet these COVID-19 challenges.

Arlene D. Kock

Author Arlene D. Kock

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