COVID-19 has affected all our lives. In Georgia, Governor Kemp’s recent Executive Order maintains existing custody orders through the stay-at-home period. For some parents, however, the Coronavirus and its restrictions prevent many parents from adhering to their existing child custody schedules as planned. If your ex takes custody of your children during the COVID-19 outbreak (with or without your consent), consider calling the Atlanta Divorce Law Group for help with weighing your options for making up lost parenting time.
The best way to decide who your kids should stay with is through mutual agreement. In some instances, it may be safer and/or easier for your child to be away from you during the stay-at-home period. Consider the CDC’s recommended precautions and decide what is safest for both yourself and your child.
Communicate with your ex about revising your parenting time schedule and how you plan to account for any missed time during the Coronavirus shutdown. Although the timeline for recovery is uncertain, you may want to plan future compensation time once the children finish the school year. Additionally, try to maintain a virtual presence with your children to maintain family stability. Check in with them over text and through phone or video calls as each party sees fit.
Once you and your co-parent agree to COVID-19 custody terms, document the changes in writing and provide your lawyer with the updates. Also be sure to record any missed visitation times and any relevant communication with your ex. This could help your child custody case if there is a dispute and provide fair parenting time compensation later on.
While you have the right to see your child within the terms of your existing custody order during the stay-at-home period, your child’s safety should be your priority. However, your ex should not use the Coronavirus outbreak as a means to eliminate your time with your kids. If you believe that is the case, record any instances where your co-parent violates the existing order and any associated communication. Do not use your ex’s violations as a justification to violate your custody order’s terms. Doing so could hurt your case and future custody rights.
Once you have the appropriate information about your co-parent’s custody violations, contact the Atlanta Divorce Law Group to examine your legal options. Depending on the facts of your case, we may recommend filing for an immediate hearing to retain your Coronavirus visitation rights or wait until things return to normal to take action. With enough evidence of your ex’s court order violations, you may be able to earn future visitation time with your children as compensation.
The Coronavirus may take away the time you spend with your children. While this may be disappointing, you can still find ways to stay connected with your kids while following your custody order. If your children are physically distant, being there for them emotionally may be the best thing you can do. Do what you can to maintain that connection with your children and let the Atlanta Divorce Law Group consider your case for child custody time compensation once this is all over.