Custody when schools go virtual

What happens to the visitation schedule when or if schools switch to a virtual learning schedule? Do children still follow the same schedule? Where do pickups and drop offs happen if not at school? Where would the child be if they’re not “in school?”

In most family law cases there is a court order the specifies the times and locations of pickups and drop offs. Texas cases have very detailed exchange days, times, and locations. If you have an existing court order, review it and make sure the answers are not already there.

Where the children will have virtual “school” time is not as clear. Some court orders provide that a parent’s time ends when they drop the child off for school in the morning, but the other parent’s time does not “start” until school is dismissed. Judges have not weighed in on whether the dropping off parent can keep the child at their house or if they need to go to the other parent’s house for “school” that day. Some parents may fight and want school only at one house. Others may not be able to work from home and so neither can have the young child alone at their house during school hours. Find a solution where school responsibilities are shared. Adjust the schedule as necessary to find the best fit as the schools and teachers work out the bugs in the system. Change is the only certainty. Expect modifications as the school year gets closer.

Parents are encouraged to think of creative solutions to their unique problems. Other family members, daycares, neighborhood resources/friends, all can be coordinated to assist those parents struggling to find coverage. The parent(s) who are solution oriented will avoid costly litigation and court. Do not think of it as you against the other parent. Think of it as both of you, as parents, against the problem. Solve it together.

Be fair, be equal, and work together. You don’t want the Judge, a stranger to your family and your children, at the courthouse deciding what’s best for your child(ren).

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