Our country is facing a crisis that we have not expected to go through, and our lives have had to change drastically. Your job may have closed, or there are modifications to your daily schedule. Schools are currently involved in remote learning, and children are spending more time at home. But how does all of this affect custody exchanges and visitations?
The governors of North Carolina and South Carolina have issued an order requiring citizens to “stay at home.” This means that there should not be any travel other than for essential needs. Is a custody exchange essential? The answer to that question is yes. Here are a few things to remember when exchanging during the pandemic:
- All custody exchanges should happen as scheduled. If you are scheduled to exchange on a Friday afternoon, you should arrive as normal and return the child or children at the normal times. If you do not follow your schedule, you may be in breach of an agreement or be held in contempt for violating a court order.
- Be flexible. If there is a risk, and the other parent feels there may be a concern, don’t take it personally. The health and well-being of the children should be at the front of your mind. If there is a way, try to find alternative ways to visit. For example, if travel is not possible, using a video chat platform may be an option.
- If you are an essential worker such as someone who works in the medical field and are being exposed to COVID-19 daily, be mindful that your ex may see this as a major issue. They may see that you are exposing the children to the virus, and want to change the schedule. This is something that both parties need to discuss in detail and come to an agreement that will satisfy all parties involved.
- All courts are currently closed unless there is an emergency situation. If you or the other party violates the visitation schedule, the case will not be heard for several months. There will not be an immediate resolution. The best scenario during this time is to mutually work for the good of the children. And remember that above all else, their health and safety should remain the priority of both parents.
Families should establish routines during this time. Keeping a consistent visitation schedule should be a top priority. If the parties don’t agree on this and an order is being violated, you still have options. Court hearing availability is extremely limited. However, King Law does offer collaborative law and mediation services to clients who would like to reach a resolution without waiting on the courts. If court is the only option for you and your family, we will begin building your case now. We will then be prepared as soon as the court schedule allows. You don’t have to take this journey alone. Together we can work through the COVID-19 child custody visitation challenges.
You can contact our team at 888-748-5464 (KING) to schedule your consultation. During the “stay-at-home” orders we are offering free phone and Zoom consultations. Most consults can be completed during your initial call. You can also complete a request for consultation form on our website and a member of our team will contact you. We’d also recommend you visit our blog section and Facebook (videos and posts) for more information on visitation during COVID-19.