** This webpage is provided for informational purposes. It is not legal advice. **
Unfortunately, divorce happens to families from all backgrounds. Should a homeschooling family find themselves in a situation where ending the marriage appears to be the next step, a number of considerations about divorce and custody basics should be made on behalf of their children.
Divorce does not necessarily mean the children will need to go to public school. If homeschooling worked for the family before the break-up, it is possible to make it work after the divorce.
In many cases, a divorce cannot be granted for at least one year after the partners stop living together. When kids are involved, a number of issues arise that can and should be handled prior to a final divorce hearing. Parents can request a custody hearing while they wait for their divorce, in order to handle these matters. In the best-case scenario, the parents will agree on the terms of custody, visitation, and child support. Paperwork is then filed by the attorneys and the judge will usually approve the request.
Be familiar with 4 custody terms:
- Physical: The right and responsibility to provide housing and to meet the basic daily needs of your children, including the everyday parenting decisions you make when your kids are under your care.
- Legal: The right and responsibility to make long-term decisions on behalf of your child relating to education, medical care, spiritual upbringing and other matters relating to their health and welfare.
- Joint: Both parents share equal custody rights and decision making abilities.
- Sole: One parent has 100% responsibility for the children.
Physical and Legal custody can be handled separately. In some cases, both parents can share joint physical and legal custody. In other cases, one parent may retain full physical custody but share joint legal.
With Joint Physical custody, children will spend half their time living with mom and half their time living with dad. With Sole Physical custody, children will spend either the majority or all their time living with one parent. The non-custodial parent will generally have visitation.
With Joint Legal custody, the parents are required to consult one another and agree on decisions relating to the child’s upbringing. Even when Joint Legal custody is granted, some parents are willing to allow the other parent to make most of the decisions for a particular part of the child’s life, such as educational choice. When parents cannot agree on a decision – even after the final divorce – they can wind up in court where a judge will decide what is in the best interest of the child.
Courts generally believe that it is in a child’s best interest to maintain contact with both parents after a divorce. Visitation can be negotiated between parents to be sensitive to work and school schedules. Only in rare cases does a parent lose visitation or is subjected to supervised visitation.
Each parent is legally responsible for providing a minimum amount of financial support for their children. This applies to full-time homeschool parents.
In Maryland, for example, child support is determined by a formula that takes into account each parent’s income, the cost of health insurance for the children, childcare costs, and other factors. You can use the online child support calculator to determine your child support.
- Dad earns $55,000 a year.
- Mom is the full-time homeschool parent, still the court charges her with a minimum wage income of $21,120 a year.
- The parents have two healthy children, ages 8 and 11.
- Mom has sole physical custody but shares joint legal custody with dad.
According to Maryland child support guidelines, dad will pay mom $1,056 a month in child support. Dad will also be responsible for 72% of all extraordinary medical and educational expenses, such as hospital visits with co-pays or deductibles of $100 or more.
Child support guidelines are not absolute payment thresholds. The guidelines provide the baseline amount parents can expect to receive or pay. The court ordered child support payment, however, can be negotiated between parties.
Last modified on October 9, 2019