Child Custody Exchanges & the Coronavirus Pandemic
Pennsylvania continues to be in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, with most nonessential businesses closed and all residents under a stay-at-home order. This situation is certainly very challenging for those who are coparenting after divorce. Our Media child custody attorneys are aware of several problems this has created.
Problem #1: Your Handoff Location is Closed
We have heard stories of parents fighting over whether child custody exchanges should take place and where they should take place now that most businesses are closed. Many parents were using schools as a convenient pick-up and drop off point. This allowed the parents not to have to see each other, especially if the child spent the weekend with another parent.
For example, it was very easy for Dad to pick up the kids on Friday afternoon and then drop them off at school on Monday morning. Now that Governor Wolf has closed the schools, this is no longer an option. Parents have to see each other, which could be very difficult, especially if there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship.
Problem #2: The Other Parent is Sick
If the kids need to go spend the weekend with Dad, you obviously don’t want Dad to be already sick with the coronavirus. Dad should want this, either, but some parents fight tooth and nail over every little issue, and some Dads might insist on seeing their children.
Also, COVID-19 has many of the same symptoms as the regular seasonal flu, so the other parent could claim that he or she has something milder. What happens if you don’t trust the other parent?
Problem #3: Your Ex is Using Coronavirus as a Pretext to Deny Visitation
A situation could also develop where you are waiting to see your children, but your ex calls up to say that the children are sick. Do you believe your ex? Is there a history of using excuses to deny visitation? It is entirely possible that some parents will use the pandemic as an opportunity to keep the children away from the other parent.
Problem #4: You Can’t Resolve Disputes
Your parenting plan should identify how to resolve disputes. Specifically, many parents agree to participate in mediation when they come to loggerheads.
However, many mediation services are closed during the pandemic. Also, getting together to mediate a dispute is a problem with the requirement to engage in social distancing. Though you might be able to engage in virtual mediation, it is not the same at all and could be much less effective if one of you can just log out electronically.
Our Delaware County Child Custody Attorneys Are Here to Help
Tackling child custody disputes during a global pandemic is certainly challenging. If you need to discuss your rights, then please contact Barbara Flum Stein & Associates today. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing mothers and fathers in parenting disputes, and we are eager to use our experience for your benefit. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.