Laurie M. Wasserman
FAQ’s: Child Custody and COVID-19
As much as our team does not want to feed into the anxiety surrounding COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, we have been receiving a lot of questions regarding child custody at this time. We want to be a resource for those of you who are left with unanswered questions, so here are some answers to our FAQ’s:
1. What happens if my ex or I get coronavirus and we need to quarantine?
The first step we recommend taking – and this goes for all these FAQ’s – is to review your existing child custody order. In your child custody order, there may be a piece that addresses what should happen if one of you is not available to take care of the children. This being said, we are in unprecedented times and we encourage you to work with your ex to make sure you are both on the same page. If communication is difficult between you and your ex, please reach out to your attorney or parent coordinator to handle the situation for you.
If your child custody order does not outline what happens if one or both of you are not available to care for the children, or you are not satisfied with the terms considering this situation, please reach out to your attorney or parent coordinator as soon as possible. Ultimately, it is imperative that you and your ex have a plan for all scenarios, including if your child is to fall ill as well. Make-up visitation may need to be implemented.
2. My ex and I do not communicate well and I am worried that they are not taking this situation seriously. What can I do to make sure my children are as safe as possible from exposure?
In high-conflict situations, you may want to consider hiring a parent coordinator. Parent coordinators can guide you through times like these and help both you and your ex come to decisions about necessary steps to take to avoid exposure to coronavirus and what to do if one of you falls ill.
Otherwise, we recommend trying to take a factual and rational approach to the situation. Try your best to set emotions aside and discuss what steps you both should be taking to keep your children and each other healthy during this time. We also encourage you to teach your children about proper hygiene, so they are empowered to take steps towards limiting exposure if they are going between households. Please visit the CDC’s webpage, “Get Your Home Ready”, for more information on this topic.
3. Our children are home from school for the next two weeks, possibly more. How should my ex and I handle childcare during this time?
Your child custody order should have a piece that outlines what to do in the event of school closures. However, you may want to communicate with your ex about how to handle specific situations as they arise. For example, if your ex lives in an area with a high number of coronavirus cases, you may agree to suspend visits and make them up later. In another case, one parent may not be able to handle childcare while simultaneously still going into work. Every situation is different and if you are looking for guidance, we encourage you to reach out to your attorney or parent coordinator.
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If you have questions about child custody during this unprecedented time, please email Laurie Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our main number 410-842-1070. For the foreseeable future, we will work remotely and be available by telephone and virtually to serve our clients. We will be in touch with any clients impacted by the Court's closing as soon as we have more information. If you are a client who is having issues with custody/access during the quarantine, please do not hesitate to reach out.
If you are in a domestic abuse situation and need help, please call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522. Domestic abuse is a serious matter and can be heightened during times like now, where we are encouraging social distancing and quarantine. Our attorneys will continue to handle domestic violence cases throughout this time. Courts are still open to handle these important proceedings.