I am receiving an increasing number of calls from concerned clients about the impact of COVID-19 on their family law matters. Concern #1 is their parenting time. We are near a time when self-quarantining is a reality. This is an incredibly important measure to keep our families healthy and safe. Emerging are instances where one parent has chosen to defy a Court Order relative to custody and parenting time. Hence, resorting to self-help in keeping a child(ren) from the other parent. In some circumstances, parents are doing this in bad faith. They think they can more easily get away with violating Court Orders during the pandemic.
Parents need to continue to follow Court Orders not only during this stressful and uneasy time, but always. Now, more than ever, parents need to dig deeper and try their hardest to co-parent and communicate during this crisis. Of course, children need to be kept safe and their best interests always remain paramount. Parents must make joint decisions for the health and safety of their children. This should be done without excluding or foreclosing the other parent from contributing to those decisions. It will require a team effort. Your children will be grateful for your ability to collaborate, cooperate, and act reasonably. Additionally, they will know you are acting with their best interests at heart.
While it is imperative that we practice social distancing, we should continue to communicate with one another about the needs of our children and take active roles in teaching our children about other healthy practices we can implement, such as washing hands properly, avoiding other people with symptoms of COVID-19, disinfecting common household items and fixtures, and doing our best to avoid making this a frightening experience through the eyes of our children.
Courts continue to remain available to help children and families during this time of need. Successful co-parenting is being able to communicate, listen and problem solve outside of the Court system. For all interests involved, it is my hope that we can commit ourselves to those practices before initiating litigation.
So many people say that we are all in this together. Now more than ever. Let me know if you have any questions about how the COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on your family law matter.