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How COVID-19 Can Affect Child Custody

For many people, COVID-19 has impacted virtually every aspect of their life. For parents who share custody, it may have an impact on how often they can see their children as well.

Fear and confusion may affect how parents handle shared parenting time. However, a pandemic generally should not affect whether someone gets to see their child because it does not trump your current child custody orders.

Potential Problems with Child Custody and COVID-19

Coronavirus should not change your current custody arrangement or parenting plan. However, it may be a good idea to make some adjustments in many families. Work schedules and activities have certainly changed for many people, so adjustments need to be made to account for those alterations. Flexibility is essential in these uncertain times.

In other situations, a layoff or sudden unemployment may open up additional time for parents to spend with children while they search for new employment.

In New York, child custody and visitation orders remain in effect and courts are asking parents to “act reasonably.” That means that even though travel has been restricted, you should still make efforts to follow the child custody and visitation orders that you currently have in place.

Suspending Child Custody Agreements

There are situations where temporarily suspending a child custody order makes sense. For example, if one parent is a healthcare worker, and the parents want to limit potential exposure for their child, decreasing visitation for a short time may be a good idea.

As a general rule, the court will do what is in the best interests of the child while also taking the parents’ rights into account. If there is a significant risk to a child because of COVID-19, you may want to ask for suspension of the child custody arrangement.

Keep in mind that the court is unlikely to make changes right now unless there is a significant health risk for a child or parent. Courts are also limiting hearings right now for only emergencies. As a rule, child custody arrangements are much more likely to remain in place for the time being.

Courts Open in New York

New York courts reopened for all types of cases on May 26th. If you know that you need to make changes to child visitation or custody right away or you need a New York divorce lawyer, contact Richard Bombardo at Bombardo Law at (315) 488-5544. We can walk you through your options right now and help you get the process started.


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