Navigating Health, Custody, and Visiting in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic not only disrupted work and social life, it also had a significant impact on family relationships. Starting with closings in March 2021, families across the country struggled to cope with custody battles and visits over the past year.
In divided families, creating a plan to overcome this situation can help parents manage their relationships with the best interests of their children in mind. When families can’t be quarantined in a single home, navigating public health regulations can be challenging.
Safety precautions for the family
The virus is highly contagious, which puts children at a relatively high risk of contracting it or spreading it within their families. Without realizing long-term effects, even healthy children and adults should be on the safe side to avoid unknown risks. People with immunodeficiency or an underlying respiratory disease were also identified as high-risk individuals.
Parents of a child with asthma or another underlying condition should discuss the risks and assess their situation according to their needs. Changes to custody arrangements may be required to ensure their health and safety.
Social distancing is still recommended, but increasing vaccination options may allow families to adjust their plans soon. Since younger children do not yet need to be included in vaccination schedules, it is still advisable for families to be aware of the virus and practice social distancing when a family member is not vaccinated.
Navigate custody agreements
While it is important to raise these concerns with your ex, unless officially agreed between parents or by a court order, custody plans must be followed. Failure to comply with visiting and custody agreements can have serious consequences.
Alternatively, if there is a COVID-19 exposure or threat, a temporary quarantine would be appropriate to avoid the significant health risks associated with the virus.
Valid reasons for contesting custody orders are:
- Family members or children at high risk.
- Suspected exposure.
- Displayed Symptoms for Each Family Member.
If there are serious health concerns about your child’s stay with the other parents, temporary alternatives can be negotiated. However, this situation is not easy to assess when the terms of the custody agreements are already in place.
How to Address COVID-19 Related Custody Concerns
“As a parent, the health and safety of a child should come first. The pandemic has created new territory for custody agreements, ”says Jeanette Soltys. Regardless of the situation, upholding the rights of each parent is vital to complying with court orders and providing support to the children.
While video chatting and social distancing have become the norm of socialization and work communication, these can be difficult options for parents. In many cases, parents can find it difficult to agree on terms of custody and visit when their wellbeing is compromised.
If you find that your current care and visiting arrangements are no longer viable, you may need to consult a mediator or family law attorney to adjust your plans. Most courts were reluctant to change plans due to COVID-19 restrictions. Still, if you’re having trouble reaching consensus with your ex, parents should alert officials to legitimate concerns. Courts could issue preliminary custody orders in high risk situations if the child or other family member has serious health concerns.
There is no paywall at Blue Virginia, and we definitely want to stay that way! If you would like to support our work, you can donate here – thank you! You can also subscribe to our weekly email list here.
Comments are closed.