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Child custody and visitation during coronavirus might seem overwhelming to arrange correctly. Because the situation with coronavirus is unprecedented, the wisest thing about handling these issues is to consult a reliable family law attorney possessing thorough experience in your local courts. Co-parenting during COVID-19 should be balanced between complying with the court order to the greatest extent possible and keeping children safe and healthy.
Joint custody is not easy as is, and the pandemic restrictions made it even more complicated. The most important thing co-parents should keep in mind about their child custody during this pandemic is that the court orders and parenting agreements are not canceled by any COVID-related restrictions.
As co-parents, you must make every effort to comply with your custody, visitation, and child support schedules. At the same time, you should communicate honestly with the other parent and put your child's safety first in cases when someone in your or your co-parent household is diagnosed or exposed to COVID-19. It is only wise to contact your lawyer in questionable situations.
Here are some general issues about child custody during COVID-19:
Educate your children about respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, and provide an example of them yourself. Whether your kid is a toddler or a teenager, the pandemic requires additional attention to these matters. Be patient while explaining why but confident about the fact that it is absolutely necessary now. Contact the other parent to work out a single approach so that your child understands the rules and can follow them adequately to the age.
One of the difficulties of joint custody during coronavirus is the parenting exchange process. Adults are recommended to keep the distance of 6 feet if possible. All the child’s clothes and toys have to be washed every time new parenting time starts.
If self-isolation is required for your child or someone from your household, make sure to notify the other parent right away so that you can make up a plan that works for both sides. Coronavirus and child custody orders may stand against each other in such cases, so don’t neglect to consult your lawyer. Traveling back and forth between households in such a situation is dangerous for everyone involved, especially if there are people aged 60 and older or with compromised immune systems. If possible, parenting exchange should happen after the self-isolation is over.
Joint child custody during a pandemic requires a lot of remote communication. You will have to discuss the exchange process, possible changes in your parenting schedules, your child’s health, etc. Make sure to inform the other parent about any symptoms occurring during your parenting time - this goes for the child especially, and for other people in your household as well. Additionally, if the other parent is self-isolated and cannot contact the child in person, think of the ways to do it remotely via phone calls or video conferencing.
Try your best to communicate calmly during these stressful times. Both parents want and have the right to contact their children, but the wisest co-parenting during COVID-19 is about putting your child's health and safety first. With that in mind, take time to think over and answer the following questions:
If both of you agree that you still can comply with your court order and parenting schedule - it’s perfect, you will only need to follow the COVID restrictions. But if you have discussed the matter in detail and mutually decided to make changes to your co-parenting schedule, consult your lawyer about sustaining these changes to have your parenting rights protected.
Make sure to have screenshots and every possible proof of the fact that these changes were mutually agreed upon and made for the sake of your children's safety. Remember that your court orders are valid even during the pandemic and there should be a good reason to act in a different way.
If you think your child can be in imminent danger if you send her or him to visitation or return to the other parent, this might be a reason to contact your lawyer before taking any further steps. With the court order in effect, the other parent can file a motion to enforce visitation even during the COVID-19 pandemic, so act wisely.
There are many issues where coronavirus and child visitation might seem impossible to handle altogether, such as:
Remember that only a calm approach and adequate communication without keeping a score can help you protect your parenting rights and your child’s safety. If you have mutually decided to make any changes to your parenting schedule, make sure to contact your lawyer.
Encourage your children with your own example of a calm attitude and believe that things will get back to normal someday. Here is what you can do:
Co-parenting during the pandemic might be stressful, but don’t let it harm your family relationships. Remember that the vital thing about your children's physical and mental health is their strong belief that they are loved by their parents.