How is COVID-19 Pandemic Affecting Parenting Plans?
While the novel coronavirus outbreak has had the most direct and devastating consequences for people’s health and the nation’s economy, it has also created some unique challenges for divorced parents. Some co-parents are anxious about their child’s well-being because they believe the custodial parent or their new partner may not be taking adequate precautions to protect the child from infection.
In other cases, the non-custodial parent may be unable to utilize the agreed parenting time to the child because of local lockdowns, shelter-in-place and other social distancing measures in place. Or, the custodial parent may not be allowing the child to communicate remotely through video chat or FaceTime with the co-parent.
Avoid any Violations of the Custody Agreement
Rather than trying to violate the shared custody agreements or entering into arguments over the parenting plans in these stressful times, it is prudent to stay on the right side of the law and make mutual adjustments to parenting arrangements until the coronavirus situation improves.
Co-parents should be prepared to consult with an experienced family law attorney in Kentucky if they are concerned about the parenting plans during this difficult phase or worried about their child’s physical and emotional well-being in these unprecedented times of self-isolation and social distancing.
A knowledgeable child custody lawyer will advise that any temporary adjustments to the parenting plans should be agreed upon in writing, and you should save any correspondence that you have with the other parent in this regard. These steps will keep you on the right side of the law even when the court systems are currently suspended.
Find Common Ground with the Co-Parent
As many employees and business owners are currently operating from home, they can find opportunities to maintain flexible schedules so that the child can be in the care or one parent or the other at all times. That will help avoid the need for nannies or babysitters or even extended family members at a time when public health officials are advising people to limit social contact.
Although it is easier said than done, co-parents should recognize that extraordinary times require extraordinary solutions. Even if they may be harboring grudges against each other in the past, but in the current coronavirus crisis, the child’s interests should be paramount.
Rather than indulging in one-upmanship or arguing over which parent should be doing what for the child, it is important to act like a team in this crisis. Be open to adjustments and new arrangements related to child custody and visitation until the pandemic situation resolves.
Be Fair to the Co-Parent
If the child is in custody of one parent, while the co-parent feels deprived of parenting time, it is important to find alternative solutions. Your family law attorney in Kentucky may advise you to make up for their lost time by way of video chatting, more frequent phone calls, and Skype or FaceTime. You could even encourage your child and the co-parent to play educational or recreational games online together and get involved with other creative online activities.
However, where you feel that the co-parent is trying to settle old scores or taking advantage of the situation by depriving you of virtual interaction with your child, you should speak to a skilled and compassionate family law attorney who will help you negotiate with the other parent within the framework of Kentucky laws.
Disregarding Court Orders is an Uncharted Territory
If a cooperative arrangement with the co-parent is unworkable, then your situation is more complex, and it would be best to go by the advice of your lawyer in this case. The court formalized your shared custody agreement at a time when the current pandemic situation was beyond imagination. And right now, the courts are mostly closed.
So, even you believe you have a compelling case, do not go ahead with violating a court order or custody agreement on your own. Consult with your family law attorney who will consider all possibilities and provide you the right legal advice based on your unique facts and circumstances.
Your attorney will know that parents who interfere with the custodial or visitation rights of a co-parent may land in trouble with the law. Family judges in Kentucky are known to reduce visitation and custody in some of these cases.
It is also important to understand that family courts rarely show kindness towards divorced parents who place their needs before their child’s. You may safely assume that in a post-Covid-19 world, this is going to be even relevant than before.
To sum up, while the circumstances surrounding your parenting plans are likely to have changed dramatically during the novel coronavirus pandemic, your safest bet, in one word, is: cooperation.
Talk to a Competent Family Law Attorney in Kentucky Today
At John H. Ruby & Associates, our team of highly skilled and compassionate attorneys understands how challenging it can be for you as a divorced parent to not be in full control of your child’s life. Our lawyers in Kentucky will guide and support you regarding your parenting plan issues in the current situation, and help you achieve the best resolution. Call us now at 502-895-2626 to schedule a free consultation.