Child Custody, Visitation and the COVID-19 Outbreak

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Many parents have questions concerning parenting time and child custody during the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Both the medical and political establishments have made clear their concerns about the extreme contagiousness and humankind’s lack of antibodies to defend against this virus in addition to the lack of any available vaccine to protect us from this deadly virus.

While all court orders and agreements between the parties should be fully respected wherever possible, there are certain conditions where parents should re-consider the parenting time schedules they presently have in place.

  • If a parent has symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 or has been in direct contact with someone testing positive for COVID-19, it is best for the child or children to stay in place with the other parent.
  • If parents need to use mass transit or an Uber/Lyft/taxi for transportation, it is best for the child or children to stay with the parent who they presently remain with to avoid contact with the virus.
  • If, however, parents neither need transportation to facilitate parenting time or have exclusive access to the transportation he or she would use to effect a parenting time exchange, we strongly recommend that the court ordered or agreed upon parenting time schedule continue without interruption.

The goal in these recommendations is to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As Governor Cuomo has made clear, our main concern as a society is to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 virus. Until a vaccine is developed, the only way to proceed is through isolating ourselves in our homes or, if we need to go out, social distancing of at least 6 feet from those we don’t live with.

In times like the present, it is in the best interests of our children for them to have access to and receive emotional support from both parents. Both parents should present a united front to the children to help them get through the current crisis as opposed to utilizing the current pandemic as a weapon to frustrate the other parent’s time with the children. To the extent a parent’s parenting time is frustrated or curtailed, parents should work together to create make-up parenting time after the current crisis passes.

If you are having disputes regarding parenting time or otherwise have questions regarding parenting time with your children or child custody during the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact us to learn how we can help you navigate these issues during this crisis.

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