As the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) ramps up at home and around the globe, we are taking on family law issues that come into play during this unprecedented time. Here are guidelines for general questions you may have about how coronavirus affects co-parenting, custody and visitation, and updates regarding court closures.
Temporarily Update your Custody Schedule. Together.
This is not the time to worry about maintaining an equal timeshare or appearing “weak” to the other parent. The one thing the two of you have in common is love for your children, regardless of parenting differences, philosophies, and feelings about the other. Communicating and planning to ensure childcare is covered and that your children avoid as much exposure to the public as possible should be a mutual goal that brings you together.
For high conflict parents, you should be relying on your attorneys for guidance during this time, especially if your local courthouse is closed. Additionally, look into engaging the services of a private mediator (using videoconference technology) to help the two of you reach consensus.
Agree on Rules.
Reducing your family’s risk for contracting coronavirus means that when your child is in your care, you are taking precautions such as frequent hand washing, limiting crowd exposure, and avoiding unnecessary travel. Get on the same page regarding playdates, extracurricular activities, and contact with other children. As part of coparenting, you and your ex should establish rules that you both agree to follow to protect the health of everyone in the family.
Make a Backup Plan.
What will happen if one of your family members contracts coronavirus? Have you confirmed that you both have the children’s medical cards? If you’re still legally married, have you double checked to make sure your medical insurance is still current? Who will care for the children if one or both of you cannot do so? Have you prepared for the possibility that you will be quarantined? Stay calm. Help each other stay calm.
Whenever you make a change to your parenting time or custody schedule, it’s important for these changes to be formally represented in a written agreement. At the very least, this reduces the chances for misunderstandings and arguments. Many of you do not have access to emergency hearings right now, so it is vital to keep your parenting situation as stable as possible for the sake of your children.
If you have different ideas, use the children’s pediatrician or other trusted individual to help guide your decisions. If you and your ex are still unable to reach agreements and have significant differences regarding your approach to the visitation schedule, make sure you seek the assistance of a divorce/custody attorney. Above all, remember your children should always be the center of your worlds, not put in the middle of your conflicts.
Have questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your child custody and visitation issues? We can help. CALL US!
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Divorce cases are very difficult and complex. You need an experienced Los Angeles Family Attorney to guide you through the legal process. Contact our law firm today at 562-439-9001 if you or someone you know needs the help of an experienced family law attorney. We will be here for you when you call. Schedule a free consultation!
We are very central to all of Long Beach, Seal Beach, Lakewood, Palos Verdes, San Pedro, Newport Beach; and regularly serve all of Los Angeles. This is intended as general advice and should not be interpreted as legal advice. Each situation is unique and requires specific analysis of relevant contracts, facts and legal obligations.