As school districts start to provide guidance on options for learning for the upcoming school year, questions arise when parents who are no longer together can’t agree. This is not a typical scenario for the courts, as the pandemic is atypical, but there should be some fundamental questions that are asked before taking next steps. For example: What are the reasons each person wants his/her option? Is someone at the house immuno-compromised? Are there childcare issues? Has anyone taken any vacations or participated in any activities that would be inconsistent with his/her request?
If after reviewing and discussing the issues you and your ex still cannot come to an agreement, you may need to go to court. If there is a joint legal custody order in place, you should determine if you are required to attempt mediation before returning to court. You may want to suggest mediation even if you are not required to do so, as this may be a more flexible way to solve this issue, offering a solution a court may not be able to offer. If you are unable to reach a resolution through mediation, a court action may be your only remaining option. You may elect to file a petition seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, which is an emergency legal process for decisions that need immediate attention. However, given the highly unusual nature of the current emergency, and the heightened requirements for these orders, we can’t say for certain how judges will respond. If there is no prior custody order, you and your ex will need to work out an interim solution while you start the process for determining custody.