I, like you, have been thrust into distance learning, home schooling or whatever you want to call this chaos. Home schooling has never appealed to me and that has not changed these past 2 months.
While I knew deep down that school would not reopen this school year when Governor Murphy made the announcement, I still felt deflated. How can I possibly keep teaching my kids at home, work (also at home), manage all the household responsibilities, and be my kids’ playmates since they are not allowed to see their friends. It is impossible and, yet, we are all doing it. News flash – not everyone is doing it.
What do you do if your ex does not teach your Kids during their parenting time? What if he/she is leaving the kids to do the work on their own without his assistance? What if they are missing assignments regularly?
First, you should talk to your ex, express your concerns and ask that he cooperate with teaching the distance learning during his parenting time. Be firm but listen to the reasons he is not teaching them. Remind your ex that teaching your kids are mandatory, it is not optional. Teaching your own kids can be frustrating. There are technology glitches, inattentive kids, work deadlines, and interrupting telephone calls and emails. Maybe your ex does not know that in addition to the work assigned by your child’s main teacher there are other teachers assigning work through a different platform (this happened in my house). If you talk to your ex, there may be something that you can work out together. If communication is not going well with your ex you may wish to communicate in writing to attempt to keep the conversation civil. Plus, this writing can be used later in court if you need to file an application.
If your ex refuses to teach, ask her/him if he/she will agree to a modified schedule. Keep in mind, though, that you should not give up all your “fun” time with the kids. It is not fair for one of you to have to do all the work, while the other only gets fun time.
If he/she refuses you should file an emergent Order to Show Cause application before the court to modify your custody and parenting time order, at least temporarily, until he agrees to teach the kids or the beginning of summer break. Even though kids are not physically in school right now, they are attending school virtually and attendance is being counted. Teachers are being understanding of the situation, but your child still must show up to school.
Melissa Knoerzer, Esq. is an attorney at ALBFRM in Haddonfield, NJ. She focuses her practice on family law and all its many facets, but particularly on special needs families facing divorce. If you are facing unique issues, our office has the experience and resources to help.