The COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth unprecedented changes to our lives, compelling all of us to change the way we approach and handle our personal and professional affairs in a variety of ways. The pandemic has forced people to stay inside, lessen their travel, and socially distance themselves from others. These changes have caused great complications concerning issues involving child visitation between divorced parents. As a parent, spending time with your children is very important. However, the pandemic has created obstacles for parents attempting to enjoy this valuable time with their children by causing them to abide by stringent safety measures, which inevitably reduces, and at times temporarily eliminates their ability to exercise and enjoy visitation. Therefore, discussing COVID-19 precautions is an essential step during the child custody negotiation stage.
Social Distancing and COVID-19 in Joint Custody Agreements
When involved in a joint custody agreement, both parents must include social distancing guidelines. Traveling back and forth between parents naturally places the child(ren) at risk of having contact with more people, thereby putting the child(ren) and parents at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Ensuring that a custody agreement fully explains how each parent will be socially distancing themselves, as well as the child(ren), ensures organization and transparency in the custody of the child.
Temporary Modifications to Custody Agreements Due to the Pandemic
Divorced parents may temporarily modify their child custody schedule if needed. If one parent contracts the COVID-19 virus and both agree the child(ren) should not be with that parent, they can create a temporary visitation agreement. This may involve postponing visitation or modifying the nature of their visitation for any period of time. This postponement period must be documented to ensure it is made up with the other parent after the postponement. Furthermore, how visitation is accomplished can also be modified. This can include phone calls, video chats, virtual visits, etc. All changes to the original custody schedule must be in writing form in a temporary modification agreement.
Struggling to Agree or Follow Custody Agreements
Divorce agreements can be very conflicting between the parents. In an agreement that includes the child(ren)’s safety, the parents must eventually agree. Often, a parent will not agree to a modification concerning the child(ren)’s visitation. If a parent refuses to communicate or agree with another parent, and there is reason to believe that the one parent’s choices are putting the child(ren) in danger, emergency custody can be requested from the court. A judge will use all relevant information and evidence to decide if an emergency modification to custody is appropriate.
Get In Touch With a Child Custody Lawyer Today
Ensuring your children’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic is crucial. In divorce cases involving joint custody, it is crucial to maintain a safe environment for the child(ren) during their parental visitations. When a parent has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, it is necessary to ensure the child(ren) are adequately distanced from that parent until their completion of proper quarantine. Our experienced lawyers at The Capital Family Law group want to ensure your child’s safety and assist in organizing a fair visitation schedule for your family. Contact our office today.