How Emergency Situations Affect Custody Agreements

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May 27, 2020 | Sara Khaki

The Coronavirus has affected everyone around the country in different ways. Most people have had to adjust plans and make new arrangements for how they operate in their daily lives. Child custody agreements have been largely affected by this shift. Many questions have arisen about how this crisis affects custody arrangements and if they need to be followed during an emergency like the Coronavirus. The answer is yes, custody arrangements need to be upheld to the best of the ability of everyone involved, even during emergencies.

Governor Kemp released a shelter-in-place order on April 2 for the state of Georgia. He then followed it with a clarification that his order did not modify any court orders, including orders of child custody arrangements. This means that while there is a shelter-in-place order in effect, it is not an excuse for people to ignore or violate orders of the court that are upholding the law. This clarification specifically mentioned child custody agreements. Therefore, exchanges of children in public spaces, the transfer of children between homes, and regular visitation schedules are to continue as previously agreed to.

What if I Have Concerns about Our Agreement?

It is possible during the Coronavirus that concerns over safety and points of disagreement may come up. One parent may live in a neighborhood where the virus is present, or another parent may have a different opinion on social distancing and safety measures. In times like this, open communication is very important.

If your co-parent is violating your agreement in any way, be sure to document it. Talk via written communication such as text or email so there is a record of any issues that you can present to your attorney if necessary. Communicate your concerns and listen if a concern is being communicated to you by your co-parent.

Changing the Parenting Agreement

Adjustments to parenting schedules and court appointed agreements may be made, but it depends on the situation, as every family is different. If someone in the household has a compromised immune system or a parent is working on the front lines and is worried about exposure to the virus, it may be appropriate to adjust or change your parenting schedule.

However, this can be an issue if both parties don’t agree, so it is important to remain focused on what is best for your children and make changes accordingly. Safety is the number one priority, and any temporary adjustments can be changed back to the original plan once it is safe to do so.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you and your co-parent are having trouble agreeing on what arrangement will work best for your children during this time, contact an experienced family law attorney from our firm. Temporary parenting plans can be made over the phone, as well as communications with an attorney to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. The best interest of your children matters most. If you are struggling to find a solution with your co-parent, contact the Atlanta Divorce Law Group today. We are here to help.

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