COVID-19 has altered daily life for millions of people. One of the most difficult subjects to address during this uncertain time is child custody. As states implement changing orders for citizens to navigate their lives safely during the pandemic and courts determine the best ways of handling active cases, you could very well face a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to your child custody agreement, whether it’s been finalized or not.
Kansas City, MO coparents need to know a few best practices when it comes to managing child custody agreements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately, the guiding principle for divorced or divorcing coparents during this time should be to make their decisions with the best interests of their children in mind.
Follow Your Court Order
If your divorce has already been finalized, your first rule of thumb during the COVID-19 pandemic is to follow the terms of your child custody agreement as closely as possible. However, it’s important to do this so long as it does not pose any danger to your children. For example, if you or your coparent works in an environment with a high risk of exposure to COVID-19, it may be best to limit the children’s time with that parent until proper decontamination and safety procedures have been developed. This may be a difficult decision for many parents in this position, but it ultimately helps curb children’s risk of contracting COVID-19.
Adhere to Local and State Orders
The Coronavirus has affected communities all over the United States in many different ways, and policymakers at all levels of government have needed to implement appropriate measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their jurisdictions. Many of these alterations and adjustments affect child custody agreements and court proceedings that may be in progress for you during this difficult time.
Whatever the case may be, it’s essential to adhere to applicable laws when it comes to managing your child custody agreement. If a local order pertains to your usual child custody routine, you need to follow it to the letter. Failure to do so could lead to criminal penalties under current emergency orders. You may even jeopardize your custody status by breaking the law in any way that may negatively impact your children. Additionally, violating local or state orders with your children in tow could amount to child endangerment, which will all but certainly lead to an adjustment to your child custody agreement and/or other penalties.
Listen to Reliable News Sources
It’s no secret that the modern mainstream media is starkly divided along political lines. While you may prefer one news network over another due to perceived political leanings, the reality is that the current situation demands Americans adopt a more holistic approach to obtaining and interpreting current events.
Consider checking the news on various channels so you can have a multifaceted view of ongoing events. Look for sources in every story you read, and base your decisions around soundly supported available evidence. Narrowing your scope of news to one or two sources is not a good idea when some networks may not be willing to report on some aspects of the ongoing situation for political reasons.
Keep Lines of Communication Open with Your Coparent
Good communication is a cornerstone of any effective and healthy coparenting arrangement. You may have developed a solid routine of communication with your ex, but the current COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown demands you increase your communication efforts as much as possible. Staying in touch with your coparent will allow you both to more easily manage schedule changes and other considerations pertaining to your custody agreement.
It’s your duty as a parent to make responsible decisions for your children, and the current health crisis means you must take this responsibility even more seriously. You may need to face facts that your children should spend more time with their other parent than you for the moment, especially if you work in any place that entails a higher risk of getting sick.
Be honest with your coparent about how the current situation has impacted your life and approach every discussion about your custody agreement with your children’s best interests in mind. Hiding important information from your ex may not only endanger your custody rights in the long run, but also potentially damage your relationships with your children.
Perhaps the ongoing COVID-19 situation requires you to relinquish some of your custody time with your children. Your ex should be reasonable enough to agree to a mild alteration to your schedule once things return to normal in your area. It should be reasonable to ask your ex to adjust your custody schedule accordingly to make up for lost time during the health crisis.
Take Advantage of Virtual Communication Tools
Modern business has adopted remote work and telecommunication systems to ensure their operations can continue with employees working safely from home, and you can take advantage of some of these systems yourself to stay in touch with your kids more easily. Apps like Facetime and Zoom can be incredibly beneficial during this ongoing pandemic, allowing you to have some face-to-face time with your kids that will be valuable to both them and you.
Make Responsible Decisions
While it’s important to adhere as closely to your child custody agreement as possible, it’s more important to make safe and responsible decisions when it comes to the health and safety of your children. If you are a nurse, doctor, or elder caregiver and work in a place with a very high risk of contact with COVID-19, then you may need to face the fact that spending time with your children may not be the best idea at the moment. You must also recognize local and state orders pertaining to travel and abiding by court orders during this uncertain time. Balancing these two notions can be challenging, but, ultimately, you need to maintain focus on your children’s best interests.
If you are unsure how to approach your child custody agreement during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good idea to reach out to an experienced family law attorney in Kansas City, MO. These legal professionals have also needed to adapt during the pandemic. They are keeping careful track of the latest orders from all levels of government to serve their clients better. Your attorney can advise you of the best ways to handle your child custody agreement during this challenging time.