How To Navigate Custody Problems During Coronavirus

Every day we hear another report about how a carefully negotiated custody agreement has been upended by the pandemic. One that struck me today is the story of a doctor who drove to her soon-to-be former husband’s house to pick up their two young children after her shift at an urgent care clinic.

When she arrived, her spouse – also a doctor – refused to allow her to see the children. He claimed that he was afraid that she would expose the children to the virus, and that this would pose a threat not just to the children but also to the elderly parents who lived with him. The police were no help; they advised her to take up the matter in court. The courts, however, were open only for emergency hearings by phone.

In this case, her attorney was able to get the judge to agree to an emergency hearing and to order that she be allowed visitation. Still, she did not see her children for weeks.

We do not want this to happen to you.

While shared custody can be stressful at the best of times, there are ways to collaborate with your former partner now to help keep the peace and move forward in a way that supports your children in the best way possible.

  1. Keep your word. You’ve already negotiated a custody agreement. As best as you can, keep it. Routine will help everyone involved and is particularly important for your children.
  2. Communicate more. Discuss what each of you will do to protect your children from exposure. Then, follow through on your commitments. Agree to tell each other as quickly as possible if there is any chance that either you or your children have been exposed to the virus.
  3. Try to be flexible. You and your former spouse may be working longer hours or different days. Your children’s schedules have most certainly changed. Do your best to work with the other parent. Judges will expect this – and tend to respond negatively to a lack of flexibility, particularly in unusual circumstances like these.
  4. If need be, take action. If the other parent isn’t cooperating, if you have concerns about the safety of your children, or if there is a possibility that you or your former spouse will not be able to pay agreed-upon child support, contact us.

We at Shah & Kishore understand how just how important it is to spend time with your children, to keep you and your children safe and healthy, and to make sure that your needs are met. We will help you resolve any problems you are facing, as quickly as possible. Please reach out to us at (301) 315-0001 – any time issues arise, day or night – or contact us to set up a consultation by video.

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