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Managing Child Custody Issues During COVID-19

sad child in front of parents

Every person’s life has been affected in one way or another by COVID-19. The quickly spreading virus has turned into a world pandemic, and one of the safest ways to slow the spread of it, is to practice social distancing. This means fewer people are traveling outside of their home to go to work or school, visit with loved ones, and even purchase goods and services.

Governor Phil Murphy issued a “Stay at Home” order, which means only essential businesses should be open. All schools are “indefinitely” shut down during this time. Additionally, all nonessential retail businesses are closed. People should only be leaving their homes if it is essential.

However, for divorced parents, this can be complicated. Is sharing custody grounds for leaving the family home? Our Somerset County child custody attorneys explain how to navigate custody during this uncertain time.

Child Custody Orders and COVID-19

Under guidelines from the court, stay-at-home orders do not directly affect custody and visitation orders. Therefore, it is in you and your children’s best interest to continue to follow the plan as mandated by the court. Failure to do this could result in violating the order and withholding custody. This is something the court does not take lightly.

However, if parents are concerned that by sharing custody, they are putting their children or themselves at risk of contracting COVID-19, there are other options. If both parents are willing to work together, they can discuss a temporary plan amongst themselves until it would be safe to resume normal custody operations.

Ideally, co-parenting would be the simplest way to solve custody disputes at this time. Unfortunately, this isn’t possible for all families. For parents unwilling to compromise, the other parent will have to continue following custody or face reprimand from the court, unless the parent believes the situation is an emergency.

If a parent has evidence that continuing the custody arrangement will put the child in harm’s way, a parent may request an emergency court order to temporarily modify custody. Examples of when this would be appropriate are if the child is immunocompromised, or if the child’s other parent has been exposed to the virus. The court may be willing to change custody in these cases.

Call DeTommaso Law Group, LLC Today

Our New Jersey child custody lawyers are always available to protect you and your family’s best interests. If you have questions or concerns about navigating your child custody order during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to our firm today. We are currently offering remote consultations so you can get the legal help you need from the safety of your home.

Call our child custody lawyers today at (908) 274-3028 to set up a remote consultation.