COVID-19 has impacted families all over the world and causes uncertainty for many parents regarding their custody agreements. If your co-parent is from an area where there are confirmed cases of Coronavirus, you may not want your children to go there. Instead of refusing to allow your ex to see the kids, you could create an emergency parenting plan with your co-parent.
Drafting an Emergency Parenting Plan
If you are concerned about your children’s safety during the pandemic, an emergency parenting plan may be a good option for you. An emergency parenting plan will contain the same information as your custody arrangement, but it will focus on how you and your ex will divide custody during emergencies.
An emergency plan should address:
- Whether you will share custody or one parent will have custody during the emergency;
- How you and your ex will provide care for your children;
- Where your children will live during this time;
- How and when your children will spend time with either parent; and
- How you and your ex will divide the costs of caring for your children.
It is also important to track how much time you spend with your kids. This record will allow co-parents to determine how much time is owed to the parent who is unable to see their children due to the Coronavirus.
Preparing an Emergency Parenting Plan with an Attorney’s Help
When you and your co-parent draft an emergency plan, you should both sign a statement of mutual agreement to acknowledge that the document is fair. This will become evidence regarding the status of your emergency plan. In other words, your children’s health, safety, and welfare must be protected under your emergency plan.
If you and your ex cannot agree on an emergency parenting plan, you will have to attend a custody hearing. Depending on the severity of the situation, Georgia courts will either hear your case virtually or postpone it to when the courts resume in-person hearings. In the event of a hearing, both parents will summarize their temporary/emergency proposals and argue why their plan is in the best interest of their children. Ultimately, the judge will decide on any changes – temporary or permanent – to your plan.
Although you are not required to prepare an emergency parenting plan, it is a good safeguard in case one parent refuses or is unable to uphold the existing custody agreement.
Seek Legal Counsel
We understand that you may want to put together an emergency parenting plan regarding the ongoing pandemic. If you or somebody you love is having difficulty adjusting to their current arrangement to keep their kids safe, get in touch with Atlanta Divorce Law Group today. The attorneys on our team have knowledge and experience with family law and can help you draft an emergency parenting plan and obtain court approval.