The global pandemic of coronavirus and the restrictions federal, state, and local governments have put into place to slow its spread have created all kinds of complications to our daily lives.
Our work, our education, our recreation, and even our family dynamics have changed.
And for some families, the restrictions and the shifts in schedules have created custody problems between divorced parents.
But having time with both parents is as important for children now as it ever is, particularly because we are in these changing, difficult times.
So how can parents maneuver these obstacles and ensure that everyone is able to see their children? Some state Supreme Courts and other organizations have provided some guidance on the best way to do this, but of course contacting your family law attorney is also helpful.
What types of issues are parents facing?
Dealing with public transportation
As everyone knows, public transportation should be avoided if possible. But many parents who don’t have a car or some other form of transportation typically rely on public transportation to take their child to and from the co-parent.
Parents in different states
Because of shelter-in-place restrictions, leaving your state to enter another sometimes requires 14 days of quarantine. This would be the issue if parents have to cross state lines to pass their child off to their ex-partner.
Children of first responders
We’ve all read stories about nurses or doctors being unable to see their families because of their proximity to the virus. In some situations, this separation has been forced onto the nurse or doctor if their co-parent believes they or the children are being put in danger of exposure.
What are some suggestions and guidelines available to help co-parents dealing with these issues?
In many cases, parents are unable to consult the court on these types of issues when they can’t reach an agreement themselves on what’s best for their children – particularly if their case has already been out of court for many years. That’s why some state Supreme Courts and some organizations have provided some suggestions to help co-parents through this time.
The Texas Supreme Court, for example, issued an order that “possession and access shall not be affected” by the pandemic or the quarantine, and that parents should go about their normal schedule.
And the administrative judge in New York stated that parents should “act reasonably.”
But with the issues listed above and discrepancies between what parents (and particularly divorced parents) might find “reasonable,” The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts released a joint list of guidelines for parents to try to follow:
- The statement recommends using video calls in cases where parents might not be able to see their children as often as they normally would (i.e., in cases where some parents have to work longer hours because of the pandemic).
- It also suggests that parents should also be generous with makeup time for when one parent can’t take the child. In fact, the statement suggests that family law judges will be stricter with parents who were unforgiving to one another during this time, once courts reopen.
Contact Kristen Stanley-Wallace Today
Luckily, it seems that many co-parents have been able to make their situation work during this time of crisis. However, if you and your co-parent are having difficulty organizing custody time or any other type of issue during this outbreak, contact our legal team at Stanley-Wallace. With over fifteen years of experience, our attorneys have learned that each parenting and family situation is unique. That’s why we strive to find creative client-centered solutions to your legal issues based on your wants and needs. Give us a call at 985-288-4621 today to get started.