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What to Do if Co-Parents Disagree on In-Person vs. Virtual School Learning?


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many challenges for everyone, and divorced parents are no exception. For many co-parents, choosing between in-person and virtual school learning may be the hardest decision in the COVID-19 era.

While many co-parents can decide whether they want their children to go back to school in person or opt for virtual learning to minimize the risk for exposure to COVID-19 at school, others cannot agree on the issue.

What if co-parents cannot agree on whether their children should stay home for online learning or attend classes in person? If you and your ex-spouse have an in-person vs. virtual school learning dispute, consult with our Orlando timesharing & parenting attorney at Donna Hung Law Group to help you come to an agreement.

What if co-parents cannot agree on virtual vs. in-person learning?

Deciding whether your child should receive online schooling or go back to school to attend classes in person is not an easy decision in the COVID-19 era. However, if co-parents disagree about sending their children to school in person, things can get complicated.

If no agreement is reached, the parents may need to resolve their dispute in court or through alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods such as collaborative law.

Who has the decision-making authority in the dispute?

Many co-parents wonder who has the decision-making authority in the in-person vs. virtual school learning dispute. That depends on whether you have joint or sole legal custody:

  • If the two co-parents share joint legal custody, they will have to reach a consensus because they both have the decision-making power.
  • If one parent has sole legal custody, that parent will get to make the decision even if the other parent disagrees with sending the child to school or continuing online learning.

Since Florida courts prefer to award joint legal custody to ensure that co-parents have shared parental responsibility, you may need to contact a skilled attorney to help you resolve your dispute.

In some cases, the parenting plan or custody agreement specifies that one parent has final decision-making authority over a child’s education. If that’s the case, that parent will have the final say when deciding whether the child should attend school in person or receive education through virtual learning.

What if co-parents disagree over virtual/in-person schooling?

If co-parents disagree over virtual and in-person schooling, they may benefit from resolving their dispute through a collaborative process. Collaborative law is a more efficient, less time-consuming, and less expensive alternative to litigation.

If you cannot resolve the virtual vs. in-person schooling dispute, you may want to contact an Orlando collaborative law attorney to help you and your former spouse reach the best resolution.

A parent may request a modification of the parenting plan

Also, if your ex-spouse is not satisfied with the resolution of the virtual/in-person schooling dispute, they may go ahead and request a modification of the existing custody arrangement.

If the other parent can prove that your decision is not in the child’s best interests, they may have grounds to modify the current parenting plan to restrict or take away your decision-making authority.

That is why it is critical to work with a skilled family lawyer to help you resolve your dispute over in-person vs. virtual school in the most amicable and smoothest way possible. Contact our knowledgeable and reliable attorneys at Donna Hung Law Group by calling 407-999-0099.