How do I handle visitation with my children during the pandemic? I have court-ordered bi-weekly visitation, and my Ex is using the COVID-19 stay at home orders as a reason why I should not have visitation.
We are all trying to make adjustments to the “new normal” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Non-custodial parents with existing court orders have been finding it even more difficult.
A court order has to be complied with by both parties, and a party that fails to do so could be held in contempt and risk a judge ordering a change in custody or losing tie-breaking authority. Courts will always consider what is in the “best interest of the children,” when making a decision.
Considering what is in the child’s best interest in this instance the question has to be whether you or anyone in your home has tested positive for COVID-19? and/or Do you work in a profession where there is a higher risk of exposure? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it would probably make sense for you to suggest non-contact access by use of video-conferencing. However, if you are denied access even after the video-conferencing suggestion, and/or the answer to these questions is no, and/or you believe the other parent is just being unreasonable, and purposefully using the pandemic as an excuse to deny you access, then you may want to file for contempt of the court order.
Keep in mind most courts are currently open to the public on a limited basis (usually for emergencies), and the timeframe for when a judge would hear your case could be some time from now. Additionally, emergencies are being heard on a very limited basis and denial of visitation is often not considered an emergency.
*The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. Use of any information contained herein shall not create any attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Johnine Clark, P.A.