Can I Stop My Child from Seeing Her Other Parent During Quarantine?
While family courts have generally stated that existing custody orders should be followed during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a number of variables that could make staying with one parent over another (in violation of a parenting time plan), in the child’s best interests. This means that while a parent should not prevent his or her child from the other parent for vindictive or frivolous reasons, it could be necessary to alter a parenting plan via informal agreement or even an emergency court order. If you need help determining whether your own situation calls for an emergency order or you need assistance negotiating a new temporary agreement with your child’s other parent, you should contact an experienced child visitation and time-sharing lawyer who can advise you accordingly.
Should We Change Our Custody Arrangement?
When deciding whether making informal changes to your custody agreement during the current pandemic is right for your family, parents should take a few factors into account, including:
- Whether both parties are able to work remotely;
- Whether one parent must use public transportation or is otherwise unable to maintain social distancing;
- Whether either party is exposed to COVID-19 on a regular basis through employment (such as working in a hospital or nursing home);
- Whether either party lives in a multi-family dwelling with common areas, like elevators, laundry rooms, and lobbies;
- Whether either parent is under quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19;
- Whether either party lives with a partner, roommate, or relative who could be exposed to COVID-19 because of his or her occupation;
- Whether one of the parties is uniquely equipped to continue with the child’s schooling; and
- Whether both parents are equally able to supply sanitation and food supplies for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The answers to these questions can help determine whether a child’s standard parenting time order should be amended, at least temporarily. If, for instance, one of a child’s parents is a nurse and is exposed to COVID-19 on a daily basis, restricting in-person access to the child during quarantine is probably in his or her best interests.
Because we don’t really know how long the current pandemic will last, families with time sharing conflicts should consider making an informal arrangement rather than attempting to permanently alter their custody agreement. These agreements should be written, but don’t need to be presented to the court, saving the parties a significant amount of time and stress. Those who are unable to reach an agreement, however, will need to go to court and seek a formal amendment. If, alternatively, one of a child’s parents believes that he or she is in imminent danger because the other parent has been exposed to COVID-19 and refuses to quarantine, it could be necessary to seek an emergency child custody order.
An Experienced Fort Lauderdale Child Visitation and Time-Sharing Lawyer
For help determining what types of changes (if any) that you and your former partner should make to your current custody arrangement, please call our office and schedule an initial consultation with dedicated Fort Lauderdale child visitation & timesharing attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.