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“Parents should remember that the pandemic will come to an end and everything they do during this time will be reviewed, will be brought to a court’s attention and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got to imagine if a court thinks that one parent was trying to use the system and play off of it, that would not bode well for them.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many systems out of balance. For some families struggling with both divorce and coronavirus restrictions, it has resulted in divorced parents not being allowed to see their children. Is this illegal?
Chaim Steinberger is a family law attorney with Chaim Steinberger, P.C, based in New York. He warns that a parent could potentially lose custody of the child if a judge finds that the parent took unfair advantage of the pandemic to deny the other parent visitation rights.
To learn more, contact the attorney directly by calling 888-981-0039 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly every part of society, including the way divorced families operate. When a non-custodial parent who owes child support loses work due to the coronavirus, they need to go to court and make a downward modification petition. Additionally, some parents are using the coronavirus as an excuse to deny their co-parent visitation rights with their children, whether due to sincere concern for their child’s health, a desire to keep the child away from their co-parent, or a concern about letting the child be around a parent who is a first-responder or medical professional exposed to coronavirus.
Court orders that require the transfer of children should still be adhered to even in states that do not expressly address the issue, unless there is a legitimate and immediate concern for the child’s safety. This is the general rule recommended by courts and lawyers across the country regarding visitation during the coronavirus pandemic.
If one spouse keeps a tightly quarantined family and the other spouse dismisses the quarantine and does not take proper safety precautions, the tightly quarantined spouse might be unsure of what to do and unwilling to let their child be exposed in the unquarantined situation. While this is a legitimate and valid concern, there are other parents who are already using this crisis as an excuse to deny visitation without any real evidence of a safety concern. It’s important to make sure you are following the same safety protocols across the board. For example, if you are not letting a co-parent inside the home, are you also denying access to anyone else who might have an interest in entering the home?
Steinberger recommends co-parents come together to discuss the governmental standards in place to maintain the safety of the community, and only deny visitation if there is a real threat of safety to the child. This worldwide crisis provides a unique opportunity for co-parents to discuss their common standards for the child’s safety as well as what reasonable accommodations can be made to ensure fair visitation is upheld in the interest of keeping a strong relationship between the child and both parents. Coming together to recognize the common fear of threat and love for the child can help co-parents work toward a better relationship for the future.
Unfortunately, courts are closed currently and not accepting cases considered non-essential. However, you can still contact an attorney if you have questions regarding custody in the case of coronavirus. The general rule of thumb across the country based on the courts that have spoken out about this issue is to remember that the pandemic will end. Whatever actions were taken to prevent visitation during the pandemic will be considered and will be subject to punitive actions if not done with the best interest of the child’s safety at heart.
To learn more, contact Chaim Steinberger directly by calling 888-981-0039 or by submitting a contact form on this page.
Disclaimer: This video is for informational purposes only. In some states, this video may be deemed Attorney Advertising. The choice of lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
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