Divorced Couples Navigate Coronavirus Quarantine
As coronavirus fears wreak havoc all over the United States, many divorced couples navigating child custody and visitation arrangements are finding it difficult to keep up with court-mandated orders. This is no excuse, however, and the courts don’t appear to want to allow parents to change visitation and custody schedules because of the virus unless the parent can prove that it’s absolutely necessary.
Nonetheless, some parents, perhaps guided by the saying “it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission” are taking the matter into their own hands and making the executive decision to prevent co-parents from seeing their kids while everyone is on lockdown.
Sticking with Your Current Custody Schedule
As a co-parent of a divorced spouse, parents are being cautioned to stick to their current custody schedule unless the circumstances are such that they are putting their children in danger or it simply isn’t feasible to maintain the current arrangement. This can happen for any number of reasons, but parents that don’t live near to one another will have the best reason for changing a custody schedule.
Parents who live nearby, on the other hand, may not be able to provide the court with a valid reason for denying their children access to their other parent. This should be kept in mind because the courts will not look kindly on parents who have decided to unilaterally void a court-ordered custody agreement.
Proving that the Other Parent Puts Your Children at Risk
The court may end up agreeing with a parent who has decided to deny access of their children during this time. But that seems like it will be fairly rare. If there is already a standing agreement in place, parents are advised to keep going with that schedule. This remains true even as children are being held out of school.
Why? The courts feel that maintaining any kind of continuity at this time of uncertainty and anxiety will be beneficial to the children. So how does a parent with valid concerns go about informing the court that their decision to withhold access is in their child’s best interests?
The court will likely recognize that the situation is evolving and the coronavirus quarantine is so outside of the norm that it will have some impact on visitation schedules. However, parents who have withheld access still need a valid reason for doing so.
If, for example, one parent says the entire thing is a government hoax and that they won’t be doing anything that the CDC recommends, then that parent may be unwittingly putting their children in danger. So providing some evidence that this is the case will go a long way toward avoiding court-imposed repercussions.
The bottom line, though, is that unless you have a valid reason for doing so, parents should do everything in their power to maintain the existing custody schedule.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney Today
If you have any questions concerning your visitation schedule during the coronavirus quarantine, please feel free to contact the West Palm Beach divorce attorneys at the office of Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates with any questions you may have.