3 Tips to Effectively Handle Child Custody and Visitation During Social Distancing

Law Blog

In a time when the country is encouraging individuals to practice social distancing in a bid to reduce exposure to coronavirus, handling child custody can be difficult. Allowing your children to move between your house and that of your ex can breed a lot of anxiety, especially if the movement increases the risk of contracting the virus. Unfortunately, whether you have a custody agreement or not, you cannot deny the other parent the right to see their kids. So how do you navigate issues of custody and visitation without exposing your family to this contagious illness? Here are a few tips to employ.

Amend the Visitation Agreement

Certain situations can make it hard to affect child visitation during social distancing. For example, if you or your ex-partner lives in a town or city that's under lockdown, movement in and out of the area may be limited. In this case, you can find other ways for your spouse to bond with the kids. This includes video calls, letters, text messages and phone calls.

 If you live in the same area or aren't restricted on movement, you can reduce the number of times the children move around to reduce exposure. Work with a lawyer to temporarily amend your current agreement so both parties are on the same page. This will avoid misunderstandings which could put extra strain on you or your partner during the crisis.

Discuss Measures to Reduce Risk

You and your partner need to have a candid conversation on how to protect your children from exposure to the illness. This is particularly crucial if your children are high risk; that is, they suffer respiratory complications or autoimmune disorders. Both parents should agree to maintain social distance and adopt behaviour that will protect the kids from the virus. For example, both parties can commit to adhere to social distancing rules, failure to which the visitation rights would be temporarily revoked. If possible, have this in writing with the help of family lawyers.

Get a New Custody and Visitation Order

Some circumstances would necessitate getting a new visitation and custody order. Such include the following:

  • If one party is reckless and engaging in behaviour that would expose them to coronavirus, for example, unnecessarily interacting with people in public places
  • If one parent, a member of their household or a work colleague is potentially exposed to the virus

In these cases, it would be in the best interest of the kids to limit contact between them and the affected party. However, some individuals may not take this kindly. In this case, you can ask the court to effect a new visitation order that bars physical contact between your spouse and the kids to protect them from exposure.

Protect your children from coronavirus by following these tips during visitation. Contact a family lawyer for professional advice on how to amend or draft a new order.


23 April 2020

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