With the holidays around the corner, you may have concerns about your child custody holiday schedule, particularly in the midst of the current COVID-19 restrictions. And with good reason. Many couples here in California are not only dealing with COVID concerns generally as they apply to shared custody and visitation, but are especially anxious when you throw in large family celebrations which we now understand are some of the main ways that the virus is transmitted.
As a co-parent, you may be concerned about:
- Your child traveling during the pandemic
- The other parent living in a COVID-19 hotspot
- The other parent not taking the amount of precautions you feel are necessary
- The other parent potentially exposing your child to a large group of family members during holiday get-togethers
COVID-19 has further complicated an already complex situation when two ex-spouses have differing viewpoints and concerns, especially now with the current spikes in cases around the country. For parents who already have holiday schedules in place, how will our current health crisis impact your court-ordered agreement?
Consulting Your Attorney
Although you have very valid concerns, you should never stop following your custody agreement and refuse to abide by it, even during the Pandemic. The consequences of violating your agreement aren’t worth the risk.
What you should do is consult with your attorney to discuss all of your options and decide on the best course of action for you. Your lawyer understands the dynamics of your relationship with your co-parent and can make recommendations that may work best within those dynamics.
Your attorney may recommend that you personally communicate with your ex in email form so you have a record of the communication. Your attorney may help you draft the communication to rationally explain concerns and how you are considering the best interest of the child. It’s important not to be accusatory or antagonistic in this communication.
In an extreme case where your co-parent has been dealing with COVID recklessly and is not willing to consider your concerns, your lawyer may need to file for an emergency custody modification. The court will always consider what is in the best interests of the child and make a decision accordingly.
Cooperating with Your Co-Parent
In the best case scenario, ex-spouses will understand the impact of the current crisis and will err on the side of the child’s health and wellbeing. Self-modifying your holiday visitation may demand some creativity but it can be well worth the effort.
In the case where your co-parent lives out of state and your child typically travels by plane, you can make arrangements to drive, even meeting halfway. The co-parent may agree to hold a smaller gathering of family members or ask anyone attending to first test negative for the virus. You may just agree to have a holiday call via video platform. The key is to work cooperatively and stay calm.
Get Professional Guidance
If you need guidance on maneuvering your child custody holiday schedule during the current pandemic, you should get the advice of a skilled family lawyer in California to help you decide what steps to take. The legal team at Gale, Angelo, Johnson & Pruett is here to help and support you in getting through these tough times together. We would be happy to advocate on your behalf. Schedule a conference to have your custody questions answered.