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Child custody matters come to forefront during uncertain times

In these uncertain times in which social distancing and self-quarantining are the norms, parents who are divorced or separated face additional challenges. How do you successfully co-parent when your child’s health may be at stake? Many complexities have surfaced as judges struggle with this uncharted legal territory.

Anxiety-ridden parents have concerns that the other parent may not be abiding by proper health and safety recommendations. As a result, some consider disregarding shared custody agreements and keeping their children away from the other parent. Unless there is some suggestion that the child’s health or well-being is in jeopardy, this may not be either proper or legal. Regardless, parents must work together to resolve any disagreements and address any concerns. Being civil is the trait you especially want to have now.

Working together and meeting common ground

Outright refusal to let the other parent see the children may be a violation of the original court-ordered agreement. A parent who does this faces legal consequences, including contempt of court. As long as you agree to work with the other parent on this matter, things should not come to a parenting duel.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Communication is essential for parents. Find commonalities, discuss your concerns and come up with agreements.
  • Work together. Do not make decisions about child custody without the input of the other parent.
  • Do not make assumptions regarding the other parent’s exposure to any illnesses. Many parents who work in the medical field or serve as public servants in law enforcement and rescue are confronted with such assumptions.
  • Virtual visits via Skype on your computer and FaceTime on your smartphone may be in order.
  • For child exchanges, meet with the other parent at an agreed-upon location that is larger and less busy, perhaps a parking lot. Or, when possible, pick up the child curbside from the other parent’s home.

Concerns are natural in these situations. However, it remains crucial to work together with the child’s other parent to iron out any differences. If you have exhausted all conversations with the other parent and they remain uncooperative, contact an experienced family law attorney.