I have received many questions from clients who want to know whether they should give visitation to “the other parent during this Coronavirus pandemic. At the time of this blogpost, neither the Governor of Maryland nor the President of the United States has issued a “Shelter-In-Place” order.
If you have a co-parenting plan with the other parent and that plan is working well, this will most likely not be an issue for you. However, there are some whose situation with the other parent is more challenging and will not be so easy.
If you have a parenting plan, stick to it. You should not unilaterally take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic to withhold your child or children from the other parent. Remember, once the Courts re-open, those that took their own action during this pandemic, there will be a likelihood that this may result in custody, visitation, contempt or other types of motions filed against those parents.
If a person in your household has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus, contact your attorney for specific advice.
If you believe that the other parent is allowing too much access to other people in general and not following proper social distancing guidelines (as defined by the CDC), you should contact the other parent immediately to discuss this. Do not “blame” the other parent or accuse the other parent, rather, discuss it in an adult like manner to keep the situation from getting overheated. If you have joint legal decision-making rights, each of you should use your best judgment when the child or children are in your custody. Remember, you cannot force your own judgment upon the other parent unless the other parent is violating the law.
What Should You Do When Your Child Is Sick?
If your child is sick, but not with Coronavirus, the child or children should be exchanged at the regular exchange times and places unless your parenting plan dictates otherwise.
As good practice in co-parenting, when your child is sick, you should communicate all information about your child’s illness to the other parent in writing, whether that is in text, email or a parenting app. This information should include the child’s symptoms, diagnosis and medication(s) (dosage amounts and times). This should include prescriptions (and where the prescription was filled) and any over-the-counter medications.
If you are unsure of how to handle the situation, you should contact your attorney immediately for further guidance. The last thing you need to worry about at this challenging time is the prospect of having a contempt petition or a motion for a change of custody filed against you.
If you have any questions regarding a potential custody issue, please call Hershon Legal, LLC at (443) 926-1702 or fill out the form on this page to request a call from Attorney Ed Hershon.