People are inquiring about visitation in this time of crisis. The question of child custody is perhaps the most emotional and difficult question courts have to decide. When parents cannot agree, often children are put in the middle. At GS Jones Law Group, we remind our clients that, not only do courts focus on what the best interest of the child is (not what’s “fair” to the parent), we genuinely care for the welfare of children.
Please keep in mind that this is a potentially frightening time for children. The more parents can cooperate by making temporary flexible plans while the schools are closed, the better the situation will be for their health. Adverse childhood experiences can carry health risks that will survive Covid-19.
Moreover, there are no assurances that any individual is not contagious.
If you are the custodial parent:
You should likely be reasonable. If no one in either household is symptomatic then comply with the parenting plan. If you do not comply, the other parent could file a contempt motion. It may be costly with an unpredictable outcome.
If you are the non-custodial parent:
Use the phone and video apps often to stay in touch with your children. They are anxious, like all of us. Your reassurance will help. Demanding visitation is counterproductive. Because we are in a crisis, you have a good case for make-up visitation. It is not worth the time and expense of filing a motion. The outcome is less than certain. Also, the court system is actively encouraging attorneys to NOT GO TO court.
Safety, responsibility, frequent virtual contact
The safety of everybody is important. And, since no one really knows who may be a carrier or who has been exposed – it could put someone in jeopardy. As a legal matter during this crisis, it may be difficult to find that anyone is acting in bad faith.
Use Skype, Facetime, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or even your landline often.
During this time at GSJones Law Group, we are not meeting with clients in-person. We are meeting with clients virtually or by phone calls by advance appointment.