Do you share custody of your minor children with your ex-spouse? If so, how do you arrange for your children to spend time with each parent during the coronavirus pandemic?
At the outset of this article, it is vital to note that a child custody and visitation arrangement is a legal order, and it must be adhered to as set out in the order. And, any changes to these arrangements should be agreed to by both parents, resulting in an amendment to this order. Therefore, it is vital to consult with a Toledo family lawyer to ensure that the amendments to the custody order are legal.
The far-reaching implications of COVID-19
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is spreading rapidly across the globe. Scientists and medical experts know very little about its behavior, except that it spreads rapidly via droplet infection by person-to-person transmission. It causes a respiratory illness that ranges from mild symptoms to severe symptoms, resulting in death.
One of the only ways to prevent its spread is by social distancing or social isolation. Consequently, most of the world’s governments have issued lockdown or stay-at-home orders, forcing people to stay at home except to seek urgent medical care or to buy essential items like food.
Custody and visitation during COVID-19
Thus, it stands to reason that the usual custody and visitation arrangements might not be applicable during this pandemic.
For example, if you live in a state where the stay-at-home orders include total lockdown where people, including children, may not move between parents, then you’ll have to make alternative arrangements. Because, succinctly stated, the children will need to remain with the parent that they were with when the lockdown started.
On the other hand, if you live in a state where the shelter-in-place order is not severe, then the custody and visitation agreements, as stated in the order, still apply. However, if your child has a compromised immunity and has been diagnosed with a disorder like asthma or diabetes, s(he) will be more suspectable to the virus, and alternate arrangements should be made to reduce the risk of the child contracting the virus during this time.
Under normal circumstances, both parents should be able to discuss the arrangements amicably. However, if the relationship between the parents is antagonistic, it’s better to seek an emergency amendment to the existing custody order.
Finally, if you believe that the risk is too high of your child contracting the virus by moving between homes, and your child’s health might be compromised, you can apply to the family court for an emergency amendment to the current custody and visitation order.
It must be noted that, under the circumstances, it is preferable to discuss your concerns with your ex-partner or ex-spouse before seeking a legal solution. Not only is the legal route expensive and time-consuming, but most of the challenges facing parents during the coronavirus pandemic are also solvable if both parents are willing to discuss each other’s concerns and work together instead of fighting with one another.