Last March, the World Health Organization declared what was then known as a novel form of coronavirus as a pandemic. Since then, it was officially called COVID-19 and will surely be included in history books. There is also no denying the fact of how it greatly affected our daily lives and the world we live in.
Ever since this pandemic began, we often encounter the word “social distancing”. This also applied especially for divorced couples with child custody and visitation arrangements. You can consult divorce lawyers in such situations when social distancing is strictly observed.
A front liner’s dilemma
In the US, there are already more than 750,000 total COVID-19 cases as of April 20. Since then, it has affected all aspects of our everyday lives. Going to the grocery became an apocalypse like in the movies, major events getting canceled, office work became work-at-home, to some schools shutting down or shifted to online classes.
While the majority of people had to stay at home, some are not able to. For one, health workers have to stay in their line of work to help treat those with COVID-19. For health workers and other front liners, there is no such thing as a stay at home. More than ever, people need them, especially at this critical time.
Unfortunately, it can be twice as burdening if you are one of them with kids and loved ones at home. A simple hug may not be possible especially if your job requires being in contact with COVID-19 patients. Worst, child custody can be compromised due to their nature of work.
This kind of situation can be a source of conflict for ex-couples sharing custody with their children. Family lawyers can help them deal with the situation, although conflicts can be inevitable in such cases.
The sad truth of working as a front liner in the time of COVID-19
One doctor from South Florida, Dr. Theresa Green, lost her custodial rights to her ex-husband due to the former’s nature of work – at least temporarily. It might not be due to their issues, but more on protecting the child from potentially being contracted with the disease. Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro said that the order is “solely related to… COVID-19.”
If this happens to you, child support lawyers can help you deal with child custody issues during these trying times. Health is the utmost issue as of now, but there should be clear agreements on child custody and other divorce-related issues at these challenging times.
You can also hire family lawyers or spousal support lawyers in case there are adjustments needed at this time. As mentioned, social distancing is strictly observed and everyone should stay at home as much as possible. Any physical contact outside the house can compromise your and everyone’s safety and health at home.
There is no denying of the fact of how this virus has greatly affected child-sharing arrangements. Front liners including medical personnel not only are at high risk of contracting the virus but also jeopardizing your child custodial rights.
Unfortunately, Dr. Greene is only one of the many cases of front-liners who ended up stripped of their custodial rights to their child due to the threat of infection.
However, the other party’s plight is understandable too, especially if the child’s health and safety are at stake. Such temporary changes to custody can be just as far as COVID-19 is concerned. In Dr. Greene’s case, the temporary shift of child custody is due to her nature of work which can affect her child’s health and safety.
How to deal with child custody during COVID-19
Dealing with divorce issues at this time can be challenging. More so, if there is child custody involved. Changing custodial rights in the meantime can be the safest option. However, you can suggest other alternatives (or agree to such changes if you are the custodial parent).
Instead of change custodial rights, you can schedule daily Zoom/Skype/FaceTime meetings. The non-custodial parent can reschedule in-person visits after the lockdown/quarantine period is over. But if both parents are not willing to compromise, you can hire family lawyers to help deal with the situation.
Custodial rights in the time of COVID-19
Never have we thought that we will be living in a time similar to when the Spanish Flu and the Bubonic Plague happened. The difference is that we are fortunate to have access to modern medicine and technology unlike before. Still, no one wanted this to happen.
If we want this pandemic to end, we have to stay at home so that the virus won’t spread anymore. More than ever, our front liners need our support. We also need to be understanding even if we have personal issues with other people.
Child support and custody can be tricky now that social distancing is strictly implemented. Divorce lawyers in Fairfax VA can help handle your legal issues regarding child custody. At the end of the day, we should take care of our health and stay safe until everything is fine.