By Jeralyn L. Lawrence, Esq.
One of the most stressful things that parents are dealing with is parenting time issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. I came up with these general guidelines regarding custody and parenting time during this crisis.
- If there is an order in place addressing custody and parenting time, follow that order. The only exception is if the best interests of the child dictate otherwise.
- Courts do not like self-help and unilateral violations of court orders. How one behaves and co-parents now and the good faith, or lack thereof, shown to the other parent will matter. Courts will hold the parent acting unreasonably or in bad faith accountable, in time.
- Now more than ever, parents must work their hardest at cooperating, communicating, compromising, and co-parenting.
- Executive Orders issued by a State’s Governor must be followed. Social distancing, stay-at-home and all other COVID-19 directives are to be followed.
- Exposure alone to someone infected to COVID-19 is not enough to deprive a parent of their parenting time. Should someone show symptoms or evidence of illness, that may yield a different result and an expectation to self-quarantine away from the child.
- Your child is listening to you. Be careful in how you speak and what you say. Do not instill unnecessary fear or worry. Limit exposure to the media.
- Be creative. If one parent misses parenting time, offer virtual time and be generous with make-up time.
- Find ways to turn this crisis into an opportunity to create vivid, yet fun, memories with your child with stories for them to tell for years to come.
The above guidelines are achievable. I recommend that you adopt them. By doing so, parenting time issues during the COVID-19 pandemic will be limited. Please let me know if you have any questions about this blog post.