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How the Coronavirus is Affecting Child Custody

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived in the United States, so many aspects of our lives have been affected. People can’t dine in restaurants. Gyms, recreation centers, health clubs, hair and nail salons have shut down. Concerts and sporting events have been canceled, and non-essential businesses have been asked to have their employees work from home.

In all states, people have been asked to stay home with the exception of buying groceries, receiving medical care, buying gasoline, and picking up prescriptions. While “essential workers” are allowed to go to work, non-essential workers don’t have the option. Needless to say, COVID-19 has impacted virtually every aspect of our personal and professional lives, and child custody is no exception.

Coronavirus & Child Custody

In many ways, the coronavirus has affected child custody. For starters, if one parent is an essential worker who is face-to-face with the coronavirus while the other parent is a non-essential worker who’s working from home, it may make sense to have the child stay with the parent who doesn’t put the child’s health at risk.

Distance is another issue. If the parents live far away from each other or if they live in different states, they may not want to take the risk of traveling. Most parents certainly don’t want to put their child on an airplane or send them to a crowded airport. So, whoever had the child before stay at home orders went into effect, that parent may have the child, even if per the order the other parent is supposed to have them.

Lastly, trust is a factor or “lack of trust.” Does your ex take COVID-19 seriously or do they think it’s all an exaggeration like some people who are very vocal on social media about their doubts? If one parent doesn’t take the coronavirus seriously, the other parent may not trust their child in the other parent’s care out of fear they aren’t following social distancing guidelines, washing their hands frequently, and regularly disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces. When a parent is worried about their child’s health and safety, they may feel it’s in their child’s best interests to care for them until things resume back to normal.

Child Custody Modifications

Those parents who are on friendly terms are navigating their child custody changes due to COVID-19 without any bumps along the way, while others are less fortunate. These parents may have their attorneys on speed dial and are trying to get their custody orders modified in light of the health crisis. For the latter group, their stress and anxiety are only worsened by a family court system that is practically shut down and will only take emergency cases, such as those involving family violence and child endangerment.

Next: Noncustodial Parents: What to Do If You’re Suddenly Unemployed

Have questions about your child custody case? Contact The Law Office of Gregory C. Goline.

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