Since the outbreak of the corona virus I get calls every week from parents that are already divorced or in the process of getting divorced. They ask whether they should continue to exchange the children with the other parent considering that we are in the middle of a pandemic and there are orders from the government to maintain social distance.
The answer is yes. Recently, a judge in Miami Dade ordered that a child should not see her mother, a doctor at a local hospital, to protect the child’s best interest. The Mother’s attorney immediately appealed the judge’s order. The court of appeals stayed the order on a temporary basis. This means that the mother regained her rights to see her child.
I know that co-parenting under normal circumstances can be a challenging undertaking. During pandemic times, co-parenting has become a Herculean task. The first thing I tell my clients is to be guided always by the love they have for their children. It is not business as usual.
As states start reopening for business, parents are getting call backs to return to work. Some parents, first responders, medical staff, and other essential workers, may be receiving assistance from the other parent for childcare while they complete their work shifts. With or without a divorce judgment, if the stay-at-home parent is suddenly called back to work, who will care for your children?
Most school systems in Florida have now announced that children will not be returned to school for the rest of the academic year. Home schooling is now a full-time parental responsibility. One parent by themselves cannot take up the mantle of 100% childcare and 100% schooling plus manage the rest of their household and keep his or her job.
Set Reasonable Goals and Expectations
1. Think about physical custody orders and whether they should be modified.
If you have not already done so, you and your ex should have a telephone or video conference to split up parenting responsibilities during COVID-19. Your custody order will provide the framework for how you move forward. For example, if your custody order, whether from divorce or family court, says physical custody is with mom Monday to Friday and dad on weekends – but mom has to go in to work and dad can work from home, should that be reversed? Or could mom drop off kids at dads in the morning and pick them up when her work shift is over?
2. Think about school work and who will be responsible for homeschooling, no matter the physical location of the parent
School work can be divided in half with one parent assisting the children with some subjects, and the other with the other subjects. If there are older siblings, are they able to take on the responsibility to teach some of the subjects to their younger siblings? If grandparents are around, even by video or telephone, can they assist with helping children with some of their schoolwork? Many people are out of work. Can another one of your siblings help you or a cousin. Be creative and think outside of the box.
3. Summer activities will be cancelled or modified
If you signed your children up for summer camp or if your children usually spend summers overseas with their grandparents, traveling will be hard if not impossible in the short term. Traveling restrictions and quarantines exist all over the world, without considering the safety and hygiene of the transportation vessel, bus, train, or airplane. If summer camp has already been cancelled and there are no flights to the grandparents
Call Now for a Telephone Consultation with a Weston, FL Child Custody Lawyer
Many custody orders allow for written modification by the parties without court intervention. Whatever you and your ex decide to do during the pandemic, with respect to child custody and parenting time should be placed in writing to protect you and your children. Contact a Weston, FL Child Custody Lawyer at the Law Office of Dana Pachersky to schedule an immediate telephone consultation.