The COVID-19 pandemic has touched nearly every aspect of our lives.
Most of our daily activities have been altered by the virus and the efforts to contain its spread.
Child custody and visitation is no exception. Between court closures and concerns about virus exposure, child custody during coronavirus can be difficult to navigate. Here, we will discuss some important things to keep in mind when it comes to custody during coronavirus.
Do Travel Restrictions Affect Visitation?
One of the main concerns that many parents have is the effect of COVID-19 on child visitation. Coronavirus mitigation efforts have included restrictions on travel to and from certain states. If your child is living in a state with a travel restriction, this may or may not affect your right to visitation depending on whether you have a Texas order or a custody order from another state.
Under a Texas order, custody and visitation rights are typically not impacted by restrictions meant to combat coronavirus. Both the child and the parents can typically travel according to the terms of the visitation agreement.
Concerns About the Child’s Health
Visitation and custody during COVID present very real concerns about your child’s health and safety. Someone in the other parent’s household may have been exposed to COVID-19. You might be worried that the other parent is not careful enough with social distancing and other precautions. Unfortunately, if you refuse to follow a custody arrangement because of these risks, the other parent may take legal action.
They can file a motion to enforce your custody agreement, and you may be held in contempt of court. Contact a lawyer if you have concerns about child custody and coronavirus. If there is a sufficient risk to the child or someone else from coronavirus exposure, a lawyer can help you handle a legal challenge from the other parent. If possible, you should contact a lawyer before you decide not to follow a custody or visitation arrangement.
Concerns About Another Family Member’s Health
The same issues arise if you or the child’s other parent live with someone who is vulnerable to coronavirus. Custody during coronavirus can bring up concerns that your child might expose another family member to the virus. If you are afraid that complying with a visitation schedule might expose someone to harm, you should contact a lawyer about the risks of ignoring the agreement.
What Else Can I Do?
If you and the other parent are on amicable terms, you should try to work out an agreement about child custody during COVID-19. Maybe you share concerns about virus exposure if the child travels between your two households. You and the other parent can agree that your child should stay with one parent or the other until the virus is more controlled.
You can formally modify your custody agreement with the court, but this is not always necessary. If you and your co-parent have a signed written agreement describing a new arrangement or if you have a course of conduct of working by agreement in a way deviating from the order, these can serve as evidence in support of modifying the order.
Call Our Office
If you need help reaching a new arrangement with your child’s other parent or if you are concerned about child visitation and coronavirus, call our office.
Our experienced divorce lawyers will give you honest advice about the risks of your situation and the options you may have. You have your family’s best interest in mind, and we have your best interest in mind. The Larson Law Office is ready to help you navigate custody and visitation in this uncharted time.