The outbreak of coronavirus – or COVID-19 – has affected nearly every facet of American life. Unfortunately, that includes the ability of divorced or separated parents to share custody of their children, which involves constant travel and concerns about possible virus transmission. If someone in the family is especially vulnerable to the virus, the frequent exchanges could put them at risk. If necessary, it is possible to acquire a modification order from the court that could provide an alternative lifestyle for the children until the pandemic ends.
There is also the possibility that one of the parents is a frontline work or essential employee. This could include doctors, nurses, police officers, EMTs, or even food service employees. Their risk of transmission is much higher than those who are forced to quarantine, which might affect their ability to become – or continue being – a custodial parent. If you are concerned that your co-parent might be living in a dangerous environment, it is beneficial to speak with a lawyer who could share these concerns with the court.
Another effect of COVID-19 is that many people have been laid off, even if just temporarily. In most cases, this could be seen as a reason for that parent not to retain custody. However, it could instead be viewed as a positive if it means they are able to help supervise their child in home-school or remote-learning. A lawyer could help make this argument in a custody hearing.
Since many courts will be closed, there may be a backlog of cases to get through but remote hearings are still a possibility. If you have concerns about the coronavirus in terms of how it impacts your child custody negotiations, call now to discuss your situation further.