To say the last couple of months have been difficult is an understatement for many families, as they juggle working from home and distant learning on top of the rest of their responsibilities. Many parents may be welcoming back-to-school season so they can get their lives on track, while others might be viewing it with trepidation. Regardless of where one falls on the matter, there is no doubt that there are heated discussions likely going on in many households as to whether children should return to school in person or not. These discussions become even more complicated when the parents are not married any longer.
Very few child custody agreements would have laid out the procedure as to who makes this decision in Maryland. Therefore, parents would turn to the arrangement to place to figure out what to do if one parent is adamantly against sending the child to school and the other insists in-person learning is the way to go.
If the parents have a sole custody agreement in place, then the custodial parent makes the final decision. This means even though the custodial parent can take the other’s advice, he or she is not bound to adhere to it. However, when parents share equal custody, both physical and legal, they have to make important decisions about the children’s upbringing together, including which method they choose to attend school. While parents may be thinking about going back to court to lift the independent decision barrier or argue one parents decision is harming the child, experts warn against doing so, given the backlog in courts these days.
The best way forward will most likely be to sit down with the other parent and discuss what to do going forward, given the child’s best interests. Depending on the way the marriage ended, this might not be possible for every one, as emotionally charged situations may affect everyone. Therefore, it might be helpful to consult experienced attorneys to advocate for one’s best interests.