Shared Parenting Plan and Covid-19 in Ohio
Keep Your Children Safe – Parents With Shared Parenting Plan May Consider New School District Options
COVID-19 has created havoc for all of us, but parents with school age kids have a whole layer of additional concerns. Of course everyone wants to keep their children healthy and safe. There are a ton of other logistics that they need to consider – work schedules, daycare considerations, and online/homeschooling, to mention just a few.
There are some similar themes in the plans presented by most Dayton area school districts. Most offer both online and some variation of in-person schooling. All schools are developing intense cleaning and disinfecting protocols. However, other than that, each district policies and procedures for reopening can vary greatly. Some schools offer a combination of in school for 2 days, and on line for 3. Others are offering half day sessions, while others are considering on line only for at least the first several weeks.
Study School District Your Child Will Be Attending For Social Distancing, Mask Wearing Policy and Online Learning
Most schools are offering the option of online only, but those procedures vary as well. Some districts have a local teacher teaching, while others do not. Some schools are offering office hours for the teachers, or evening question and answer time where the students can get help from an actual teacher. Then there are variations on wearing masks, participating in special classes like art, music and physical education. Although most districts mention that they will practice social distancing, it would be worth checking how they are going to do this.
For example are they reducing the number of students in a classroom? Are they spacing out seating in the lunch room? Are they eliminating group activities such as assemblies? Most school districts have outlined procedures for the lunch room and other common spaces used by the students. Many schools are delaying the start of the school year in order to fully prepare for reopening. You really need to study the school district your child will be attending to understand what will be happening.
DO YOU HAVE SHARED PARENTING PLAN WITH YOUR EX?
So, as if there were not a lot of choices for parents to consider regarding schooling decisions, here is another possibility. If you and your Ex are operating under a Shared Parenting Plan, you should also look at the options being offered by his/her district.
It is fairly easy to amend a Shared Parenting Plan to alter the language regarding which school district is responsible to educate your children. It can also be amended numerous times based on the best interest of the kids and the parents’ agreement.
Most schools are restrictive in permitting a child who lives inside their district to attend their schools. They only want to spend tax money on children living in their district. But, under a Shared Parenting Plan in Ohio, both parties are equal legal custodians and residential parents of the children. So if the current plan switches the responsible school district from where Mom resides to Dad’s district for example, Dad’s school district is stuck educating that child even if the child lives primarily with Mom miles outside of Dad’s district! Schools don’t like it, but parents need to take actions which are best especially in these most challenging times.
It is also possible to convert a sole legal custody order to a shared parenting arrangement to accomplish the objective to switch school districts for the semester or year(s). If you think such a “technical” switch in the school district might make sense, contact an attorney experienced with custody and family law types of matters. This is not a “do it yourself” type project. Certain technical language must be incorporated into the revised Court Order to meet both the Court and school district’s requirements.
EXCELLENT LINK TO SCHOOL DISTRICT REOPENING OPTIONS:
I found a great interactive link on the WDTN website. Here it is (Click on graphic):
They have a map with school districts that you can click on. When you do, it will provide some basic information and provide another link which will take you to the school district’s website to read the current schooling options in detail. Very helpful since this is a very fluid situation with quick decision deadlines for parents. Many school districts continue to change and tweak the schooling options they are offering. Start dates are being delayed. Face mask requirements are changing.
If you are divorced and live in the Southwestern Ohio region, and want to consult about the option of switching your children’s school district, our experienced divorce lawyers at Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues will assist. Please call us at (937) 293-2141 to schedule an in-person or phone consultation. Also, please check our Dayton law firm’s website at www.hcmmlaw.com.
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Robert L. Mues
Attorney Robert "Chip" Mues has been focusing his legal practice throughout Southwest Ohio primarily in divorce and family law matters since 1978. Chip is passionate about family law and has proudly published the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2007. In addition, he is the managing partner of Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues. To learn more about him or the law firm, visit the firm's website at www.hcmmlaw.com. Appointments are available in person, over the phone or by Zoom. Call us at 937 293-2141.