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5 Tips to Avoid Child Custody Issues During COVID-19
There are a lot of controversial and debatable topics arising from the pandemic. Though it seems the Covid 19 surge is over, thousands of families were affected. Countless parents lost their jobs or put them in challenging positions as they manage working from home coupled with overseeing the kids’ remote learning. For divorced and separated parents, on top of these concerns, they also have to struggle with working out child custody arrangements that will not compromise the health of the kids.
Lately, the Covid 19 pandemic has weighed in a lot in the area of health and safety. With the advent of protocols on wearing masks, social distancing, and vaccinations, conflicts between divorced or separated parents sharing custody of a child have become commonplace in the family courts.
In family law, the usual areas of contention are decisions about a child’s welfare, education, and medical care.
In this article, Andres Mejer, a family law attorney, will discuss the different issues that divorced and separated parents are dealing with because of COVID-19, and share with you 5 tips to minimize child custody issues between divorced/separated parents.
What issues do parents face during the Covid 19 pandemic?
Parents now face the additional pressure of striking a balance between the changes in their work and their child’s academic set up. They deal with multiple issues, such as:
- minimizing their child’s risk of exposure to the virus – parents may decide to keep their child at home
- deciding whether or not to vaccinate their child, especially after the Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccination of minors last year
- dealing with differences in opinion about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines or the government’s mandates
In addition, divorced and separated parents face the issue of determining child custody arrangements that would still work for their unique situations and schedules while making sure that everyone involved has minimal risks of exposure to the dreaded virus.
It’s not surprising that these issues led to conflicts between separated parents. But we need to keep in mind that any decision made should always be in the child’s best interest.
How do we promote children’s best interests?
We need to acknowledge that they are still at risk for contracting COVID-19 and experiencing health complications.
- They may be exposed to family members who may have come in contact with COVID-19, become asymptomatic carriers, and pass on the disease.
- For children whose parents are in the healthcare sector, we need to see that they are at an increased risk of exposure or being carriers of the disease.
- For children who are moving from one household to another, they may be at greater risk of exposure.
However, we also need to remember that compliance with an existing custody order is still required.
How do we minimize child custody issues between divorced/separated parents?
Here are 5 tips to avoid jeopardizing your child custody arrangements and on how to manage your ex and your children, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tip Number 1: Stick to social distancing guidelines
Stick to social distancing guidelines in your area and talk to your ex-spouse to make sure they are also complying. Doing so will help protect your children from undue exposure. It is even more crucial when children are moving from one household to another regularly
Tip Number 2: Get yourself tested regularly
If possible, get yourself tested regularly for the virus so that you get peace of mind and assurance that you are healthy and are not unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
Tip Number 3: Make sure all modifications to custody are done in writing
Take note that any modifications or custody changes need to be in writing and should be approved by the court. Failure to stand by the parenting plan and custody schedule could negatively affect your right to custody or visitation.
Tip Number 4: Communicate openly with your ex
Practice open communication with your ex-spouse whenever conflicts arise. Discuss any issues amicably.
Resolving these issues is not easy especially if your ex-spouse doesn’t share your concerns. If you simply can’t agree then it may be time to consult and involve your family law attorney.
Tip Number 5: Keep everything legal
Keep it legal. Due to new working schedules for essential workers and the risk of exposure, modifying the current parenting plan and custody schedule is not unexpected.
If you have plans of moving to another city or out of state, check whether this impacts your custody agreement. If it does, you need to file a Motion to Modify Child Custody or Visitation.
Always file for a modification of the custody agreement using proper channels to avoid complications.
Do I need an attorney?
When it comes to understanding the nuances of child custody, child support, consulting a lawyer specializing in family law is the best step to take.Share This Post!