Can a Custody Arrangement Be Temporarily Suspended If My Child Tests Positive For COVID-19?

The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone’s life, some more than others. Quarantine, lockdowns, and social distancing have been difficult for us all, but these factors have created more challenges for people who co-parent and have a custody agreement. The dilemma is how both parents can uphold the custody agreement while also maintaining the health and safety of their child during a pandemic. Traveling back and forth to each household may put the child at risk because one parent does not know if the other parent is sick or could potentially expose their child to the virus.

Thinking about these scenarios can be stressful and co-parents may not always be able to reach an agreement on what is best for the child. The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AMML) has provided tips on how parents can work together to make the best decision:

  • Be Healthy
  • Be Mindful
  • Be Compliant
  • Be Creative
  • Be Transparent
  • Be Generous
  • Be Understanding

Custody Agreement Adjustment

If you have a joint custody agreement with your former partner, you must work together to establish an agreement on how you two will operate to protect the health of your child. This includes discussing how well you follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and social distancing. If one parent feels that they are unable to follow the safety guidelines the best decision for the well-being of the child or children would be to agree to a modified custody agreement temporarily in which the child stays with one parent until the crisis is over. The lost time with the other parent will be made up once the crisis passes. This agreement does not have to be formal, but it should be in writing and requires a great deal of communication and compromise from both parties.

If the child or one of the parents tests positive for COVID-19 you can ask your former partner to temporarily modify the custody agreement. This does not need to be formal, but if you feel you need an attorney, they could help you draft a temporary agreement. Some alternatives that you can propose to your former partner are:

  • Scheduling regular phone calls or virtual visits
  • Postponing scheduled visits in exchange for the child staying with them for a period of time after the crisis
  • Documenting all lost time so it can be made up once the crisis ends

Speak to a Child Custody Lawyer Today

If you are unable to reach an agreement with your former partner regarding temporarily adjusting your custody terms, you should contact a child custody lawyer. If you are sued for denying time during Covid due to your concerns, you should contact a child custody lawyer. Family law can be confusing and frustrating, working with an experienced family law attorney could facilitate the process and help you come to an agreement with your ex sooner. Contact one of our Capital Family & Divorce Law Group attorneys today for help with your custody agreement.