How Does COVID-19 Affect My Co-Parenting Situation?

close up of the hands of a mother and her child together
Apr 14, 2020 | Sara Khaki

Many individuals across the country and in Georgia have been affected by COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. With many schools and workplaces shutting down, the recent changes may cause disruptions in many parenting plans. This includes disputes over travel, medical care, and custody arrangements. Because of this, many parents may have questions on how COVID-19 may affect custody and the ability to make legal decisions during the parenting process.

What is the Best Course of Action to Settle a Dispute?

The best thing to keep in mind when making decisions regarding custody or parenting plans is to consider what is in the best interest of your child. With the frequent changes to daily life due to COVID-19, parental disputes may add worry to an already stressful time for a child.

The best course of action to navigating these difficult times may be to sit down with your ex-spouse and establish a temporary agreement on how to handle child custody and legal decisions during the Coronavirus pandemic. Frequent communication, flexibility, and understanding when creating a temporary agreement may reduce future disputes and create a better environment for your child.

Seeing Your Children during the COVD-19 Pandemic

The Chief Judge of the Family Division for the Atlanta Judicial Circuit has stated that unless a temporary agreement has been reached, parenting and visitation rights that are governed by a school calendar should continue to be followed. This remains true for visitation or custody agreements relevant to scheduled holidays or breaks, including summer break. If you suspect that your child may be endangered by a change in visitation or custody due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an experienced family law attorney from our team can help you identify whether your circumstances constitute an emergency family court hearing.

How to Safely Pick-Up or Drop-Off Your Child during the Pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has created some best practices to protect individuals form the spread of COVID-19. This includes frequently washing your hands, avoiding public areas, and avoiding contact with your eyes and mouth. Frequently disinfecting commonly touched surfaces and taking additional proactive measures can also help ensure the safety of your family and others when picking up or dropping off your child during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Impact on Medical Decisions in a Parenting Plan

Many parents in joint custody arrangements have a legal obligation to provide their ex-spouse with any information regarding the child’s health and safety. Unless otherwise specified by a temporary agreement or court order, parenting plans must continue to be followed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is best to follow the advice of medical experts, including doctors and governmental organizations during this time.

Extracurricular and Religious Activities

Many areas across Georgia are closing public facilities that host extracurricular activities, including libraries and recreational facilities. Similarly, school-sponsored extracurricular activities may no longer be continuing due to school closures.

District Health Director Janet Memark has also recommended that activities involving in-person interaction be suspended. This includes religious gatherings and meetings at other institutions. Those with concerns regarding their child’s safety attending activities should first contact the child’s other parent to reach an agreement on how to best protect their child.

School Attendance

Governor Mike Kemp signed an executive order closing all schools in the state of Georgia through April 24. Individuals who have disputes over how and where their child will receive their education should first attempt to resolve the dispute with an ex-spouse through a temporary agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate your options with your family’s best interests in mind.

Can My Child Travel with an Ex-Spouse During COIVID-19?

Even though schools across Georgia may be closed, parenting plans must still be followed whenever applicable. This includes measures specifying with whom and where a child goes during breaks in school, including spring and summer breaks. Individuals with concerns about their child traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic may be able to file a temporary protective order in a local family court with the help of a qualified attorney.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Dealing with custody and legal decision-making issues during the COVID-19 pandemic may add additional stress to an already emotionally difficult time. If your custody rights are being withheld by an ex-spouse, you may be able to protect your rights through legal action. Similarly, if you think your ex-spouse’s actions pose a threat to your child’s health, you may have legal resource. Contact the Atlanta Divorce Law Group team today to learn more.

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