When you have a child custody order for time-sharing, you may be confused as to what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. Should you keep your children with you or let them have the court-ordered time with your former spouse? The simple answer is to let your children spend time with your former spouse as withholding visitation is violating the court order.
We Both Agree to Suspend Time-Sharing. What Do We Need to Do?
If you both agree to suspend visitation during the COVID-19 outbreak, make sure you have that agreement in writing, even if it’s in an email. The agreement should contain:
- The children’s names;
- Why you agree to temporarily change the court’s orders;
- A summary of the original time-sharing agreement;
- The dates that you agree to suspend time-sharing;
- Which parent will have the children during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Make-up dates that you agree to.
- A paragraph that states the time-sharing suspension is temporary, and what date you will re-visit the temporary agreement or end it to go back to your court-ordered time-sharing schedule.
If you do not have a custody and visitation order yet, you should contact the best family lawyer to help you draft a temporary agreement regarding temporary time-sharing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
What If My Former Spouse Is Not Keeping Our Children Safe?
A parent may believe that everyone needs to stay home while the other may believe that it is safe to take the children out in public. If you have concerns regarding the safety of your children during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact a Utah lawyer as soon as possible to write a letter regarding staying safe during the pandemic.
Even After a Letter, My Former Spouse Continues to Unnecessarily Expose Our Children to COVID-19. Can I Refuse to Send Our Children to the Other Parent?
No. If you refuse, you will violate a court order, which could lead to financial and legal consequences, including being found in contempt of court.
We Agreed to Substitute Physical Custody and Visitation Orders with Video Chat. Is There Anything Else I Need to Do?
Create a temporary agreement between the two of you, then document each video chat, including the length of the chat.
What If I Want to Make a Temporary Change, but My Former Spouse Is Usually Argumentative?
Contact a Utah child custody and visitation lawyer to discuss your situation. It is possible that your former spouse may respond favorably to a letter or a phone call from his or her attorney.
Should I Discuss Changes with Minor Children?
Though it is best to keep matters of divorce, custody, and visitation away from children, in this case, you might explain that you and the other parent agreed to a temporary change because you do not want the child to get sick and that the child can still contact the other parent via phone, email, video chat or other means of communication.
What Other Steps Make This Situation Easier?
Always discuss what you want to tell your children and how you will tell them. Before you do discuss any temporary changes or other safety measures, such as social distancing, be sure you and your spouse agree on what you will tell your children. Be sure to discuss homeschooling and other normal routines. Finally, always tell your former spouse if you believe there was a chance you and your children may have been exposed to the virus.
Contact Wall & Wall Attorneys At Law PC
If you need help with working with your spouse or former spouse on time-sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic, contact Wall & Wall Attorneys At Law PC for a free consultation and case review.