Coronavirus & Child Custody: How The Quarantine is Impacting Child Custody Agreements
As most of the country has been ordered to stay at home for all non-essential activities, in some states for over a month, one of the serious challenges which has arisen has been dealing with child custody during the coronavirus pandemic. How are parents supposed to exchange their children during their allotted times if they cannot leave the home, and how can this be effectively managed?
The first and most important place to start is by trying to come up with a temporary agreement with the other parent. If you’re able to communicate directly and hash out a basic set of parameters for how to proceed during the duration of the crises, that’s a minimal intervention approach that can serve everyone’s best interests.
It’s often useful to have an official family law mediator handle such an interaction. These mediation sessions can even be handled virtually these days, and provide a viable temporary solution that is agreeable for both parties.
For couples who are unable to come to such terms, you must realize that if there are official court orders in place, you can still be held in contempt for violating the terms. It’s essential to work with the other side to the extent possible.
This is also the time to think of the safety and health of your children first and foremost. If one parent is of increased risk, working an essential job while encountering many people on a day-to-day basis, or even serving as a healthcare worker, parents should work together where possible to determine the most appropriate schedule for their children during these unprecedented circumstances.
Dealing with child custody in the coronavirus pandemic also means following all other best practices. That means abiding by social distancing protocols, staying home as much as possible, not socializing in large groups, and on down the line. In terms of such protocols for COVID-19 and their impact on child custody, you should keep such matters at the front of your mind in terms of potentially pausing nannies and daycare services, limiting or stopping play dates for your children, and so forth.
Another important tip will be to line up a backup or emergency child care provider for your children. If you are to fall sick, the other parent does, or you both do, you should have a contingency plan in place in terms of where you can take the kids and who will be able to watch them.
It’s important to note that solutions will vary on a state-by-state locale based upon the shelter-in-place or lockdown policies which have been enacted, as well as the legislation governing your divorce and child custody agreement.
For individuals impacted in the state of Maryland with a pending or current child custody agreement, you can reach out to our team for more information and assistance. Call us at 240.395.1418 and we’ll do our best to answer any questions and provide a free consultation.