Parenting Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As many towns, cities, and states are hunkering down due to the COVID-19 pandemic many parents are looking for guidance when it comes to their parenting time or ex-spouse’s parenting
time with their children. While daily life may be grinding to a halt, what does one do concerning parenting time? It’s in times like these that people want to see their children the most, but what
can you do to protect the safety of your children while not breaching your custody agreement.
First, communication with your ex is key. If you are able to do so, you should maintain a line of
communication with your ex in order for both of you to remain up to date on your children. Remember that the safety and health of your children will only benefit from working together
with your ex. Make sure that you and your ex are on the same page in regard to the precautions you should be taking to avoid catching the virus. The children should always remain within the
house and on the property of the home. You should both understand that the virus can be transmitted by people that are asymptomatic and could have an incubation period of 14 days or
more; therefore, if you or your ex must leave the home 1) maintain a six-foot distance from other people, 2) do not touch surfaces unless necessary, 3) do not touch your face, 4) wash your
hands when you return home, and 5) change your clothes upon returning home. Additionally, keep each notified if either of you are feeling ill, if any of the children are feeling ill, or if you
cannot abide by the parenting time schedule.
Also, maintaining joint communication with your children is paramount in order to explain the current circumstances with the virus and the parenting time arrangement. It can be a scary time
for your children with the virus, not going to school, not seeing their friends, etc. Second, you and your ex should strive to maintain normalcy in your children’s lives by maintaining the status quo if you are able to. If you and your ex are amicable, then you should communicate with each other whether the parenting time schedule is doable in the current situation or if it has to be amended. You have to take into consideration the children’s homeschooling, the ability to travel, the health of the children or yourself, etc to determine what the best option is for your situation. However, if a disagreement does arise between you and your ex, then you have to be creative about how you handle parenting time. Some alternatives could be: 1) your children have more telephone or FaceTime opportunities with your ex and provide them with a private space to do so, or 2) switching to alternating weekends or weeks to limit the children’s exposure to the virus.
Lastly, if a disagreement does arise during the pandemic between you and your ex and it cannot be resolved on your own, then you should consult an experienced family law attorney.
Remember that the court will view anything that happens in regard to parenting time in context, and the biggest thing that can harm someone is the lack of sensibility and not taking your
children’s best interest into consideration. We understand that during this time that you can be nervous for your children and disagreements about parenting time can be frustrating, but keep
in mind that creating resentment and ill-will now will not help once the crisis is over. If you and your ex are having a disagreement or you have questions regarding parenting time and need help navigating this process, please contact the experienced family law attorneys of Dalena & Bosch to schedule a consultation to discuss your needs and goals.