Can You Alter Your Child Custody Arrangement During COVID-19

Many things in the world are at a standstill during this unprecedented global pandemic due to the spread of COVID-19. With strict health regulations to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, many families are struggling to adhere to their visitation and custody agreements. Social distancing orders and children with existing conditions have made it necessary to find creative solutions to custody and visitation requirements.

COVID-19 and Visitation Challenges

Since March of 2020, COVID-19 has been spreading worldwide, which has demanded a change in how we live our lives and interact with both family and strangers. Every facet of American life, from work to travel has faced change or been eliminated. So how are children and parents who rely on travel for custody and visitation meeting their obligations? Social distancing and effective virus mitigation efforts can be a challenge for children and parents who live under the same roof, but it’s even more challenging for divorced parents. Trying to maintain social distancing rules and strict hygiene requirements is even more difficult with separate households.

Social Distancing and Virus Mitigation Impacts on Custody Arrangements

Currently, there haven’t been any social distancing or shelter in place rules that negate court-ordered custody arrangements. Families are obligated to continue following their custody agreements unless you and your ex-spouse reach an understanding about your custody order. It will not be viewed favorably by the court system if you unilaterally change your custody plan or deny visitation, so make sure to speak to your legal representation if you have virus mitigation concerns regarding your former spouse’s home or job. You may be able to work with your family lawyer to put modifications in place to protect your family.

Some concerns could warrant changes to your custody arrangement, like:

  • Your ex-spouse has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • Your ex-spouse has started exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
  • Your ex-spouse is a frontline worker frequently exposed to COVID-19
  • Your child has a preexisting condition making them high-risk for COVID-19 complications

Custody arrangements are meant to benefit your children, so if you have reasonable concerns that your child is at greater risk for complications to COVID-19 due to your ex-spouse’s job, then you may have a valid concern to ask for modifications.

Where to Direct Your Concerns

While the medical community has continued to maintain that children are not as prone to developing serious complications from COVID-19 as adults, it is still not recommended to expose them to the virus if avoidable. If you are worried about your child’s risk of exposure from your ex-spouse’s job, the best course of action is to start with a conversation with your ex. If you cannot reach an agreement, speak to your legal representation about your concerns and options.

The attorneys at Cianci Law, PC can help you if you need modifications to your custody agreement. Call us today at (916) 797-1575 to schedule a consultation.

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