With everything going on in the world today, it’s important to focus on your child’s well being, along with their health. The current outbreak of COVID 19 has raised many concerns, and as parents, you might be thinking about taking sole physical custody of your child for their well being. However, in times of crisis, you have to remember the best interests of your child, and the custody agreement you’ve arranged. Are you unsure what to do about your custody order when a crisis hits? What if your former spouse wants to change your shared custody agreement in light of a crisis? Whether it’s Corona-virus/COVID-19, or SARS, or a quarantine, here’s some tips to help!
While this isn’t always practical – for example, perhaps with quarantine if one party has been potentially exposed, this is THE starting point. First, put your kids first. They NEED both parents if possible during a crisis, so now is not the time to withhold without good reason. Second, if you do withhold visitation, you run a serious risk of a Judge thinking you are trying to take advantage of the situation to the detriment of the children and it back-firing entirely! Just don’t do it.
While it may be hard to communicate with the other parent, now is not a time to withhold crucial information or important decisions. If you have suspected or confirmed exposure, BE HONEST with the other parent and take any steps you can to protect your children. Practice good hygiene, follow CDC/local health guidelines, and communicate about any schedule or health changes that may come up as a result of government mandates that come down (or demands from your employers, etc.). And IF you have to deviate from the order, do so by agreement and if that makes one parent miss time, then proactively plan for how to let that parent make up time when the emergency concludes.
We really do find out what folks are made of when life gets messy. If a parent loses their job, can’t take their visitation, or can’t spend time with the children due to the emergency demands of their job, show kindness. Your children will already remember the traumatic experiences that come with a pandemic – help show them how each parent did their part.
While it is ideal that each parent would stop the drama and such and play nice, the reality is that some parents WILL try to take advantage of any situation to deny the other parent visitation or put the other at a disadvantage, whether it’s in child support or custody. What should you do?
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