Arizona’s plans for online K-12 schooling this fall in Maricopa County, as recently announced, will prove especially complicated for divorced couples who share custody, according to Stewart Law Group.
While some of the county’s school districts and charter schools have reopened for in-person classes, others are starting with remote learning as they monitor three public health benchmarks on a regular basis to see when it may be safe to return.
Overseeing students learning at home will be stressful, and the head of the Phoenix-based Stewart Law Group said that the uncertainty over when in-person schooling will return will cause even more headaches among divorced families.
“People often get divorced because they have trouble coming to an agreement,” said Scott David Stewart. “Custody arrangements are designed to avoid more arguments that by setting up a regular schedule, but the coronavirus has upended all of that.”
Stewart Law Group is working with a number of clients whose custody arrangements have been affected by the coronavirus. In the beginning of the pandemic, some of those changes seemed like they would be just temporary fixes but the fall school calendar is just the latest example of shifts that may be in place for the foreseeable future.
For couples who have worked cooperatively to determine parenting plans and agree on custody schedules, those may be informally worked out by the parents with or without a lawyer. But he said that in other cases, hard-fought agreements which spelled out arrangements in detail may end up back in court.
“The coronavirus has affected every family, but it’s proven particularly tricky for divorced parents,” Stewart added. “The uncertainty over in-person school this fall is only going to complicate things further.”