Our nation is currently facing a pandemic, leaving parts of our population restricted to their homes while the other part valiantly works on the frontlines, battling COVID-19 head-on. For many parents who work in healthcare or who reside in the same home as a healthcare worker, this pandemic may create new issues regarding parenting time.
Many healthcare workers are proactively planning to protect their children in the event they contract the coronavirus. Both co-parents should be involved in making these plans. Consider whether a court order may be needed to ensure that any parenting time lost as a result of measures taken to ensure the safety of your children can be made up at a later date. These measures can be temporarily instituted on a case-by-case basis by the court, with the permanent parenting plan being left intact, to return to once a period of quarantine is over.
While it is appropriate to plan in advance of an infection, changes do not necessarily need to be implemented before a risk presents itself. Not all healthcare professionals are in contact with COVID-19. As long as it is safe for the children, both parents should maintain their regular parenting time. If you are a healthcare professional and feel that your parenting plan is under attack regardless of your exposure, speak to an attorney to ensure that your parental rights are protected.
If your co-parent is a healthcare professional, you may be wondering what rights you have to keep your child safe. If there is reason to believe that the other parent is not taking steps to protect the health of your shared child, you may be able to ask the court for a temporary change in parenting time. This should not be a time to weaponize the pandemic in your domestic case, but the health, safety, and welfare of the child is the most important thing. A temporary move to virtual parenting time could be in your child’s best interest.
While no one can provide promises or blanket rules during these trying times, Joseph, Hollander & Craft’s family law attorneys remain available to guide clients through these new legal issues.
If you have questions related to a parenting schedule arising from COVID-19, please contact us today.