The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting every aspect of our daily lives, and custody agreements are not immune to the impact. Here are several tips for parents dealing with custody and parenting time issues during this outbreak.
•Safety First. If a parent, child or guardian is in a high risk category to be affected by COVID-19, the parties should consider limiting the contact to prevent the potential exposure to the parties and the child.
•Video Chats. If a parent or guardian is unable to exercise regular visitation during this difficult time, consider allowing unlimited Facetime, Allo, or Duo video calls until things return to normal.
•Contact While Distancing. If there are concerns about potential exposure to COVID-19, consider allowing physical contact, while also maintaining the Centers for Disease and Control’s “social distancing” guidelines. Parties could do this at the residence where the child is or at a local park.
•Make up time. Understand that if a parent is unable to exercise normal visitation during this period, the parties could agree to arrange make up time after the COIVD-19 restrictions are lifted.
•Don’t be unreasonable. This current situation is not like any other event we have ever experienced, and requires patience and out-side the box thinking. Parents and guardians do not need to make this difficult time even worse by not working together.
•But what if the other party is being unreasonable? If one parent or guardian is unreasonably withholding visitation, then that parent or guardian could be subject to a contempt action by the Court. In that situation, the excluded parent could receive make up time via a Court Order. Further, the party withholding the child would be subject to the contempt powers of the Court, which includes a fine and or jail time.
This is not the time to be petty and make a difficult situation even worse. Show your child that you all can work together and make the most of ever changing circumstance.
If you have questions concerning your particular custody case or visitation as it relates to COVID-19, please feel free to call our office.