Ever since this public health crisis began, not a day has gone by without my clients asking me:
“How does COVID-19 affect my Custody/Visitation Order?”
For some time, I was only able to tell them with confidence that despite COVID-19 and any associated stay-at-home Orders, they were required to follow the terms of their Custody/Visitation Orders.
Well, we now have a more definitive answer.
The court system recently issued “Custody & Visitation Recommendations During COVID-19”. For the full story, click here. But if you want a quick read, here are some pertinent aspects:
“The goal of these recommendations is to encourage the parties to follow their parenting plan and/or custody order as closely as possible to ensure a level of consistency and stability that is in the best interest of the child(ren). Families should work together to ensure the best interest of the child(ren) while also following the advice of their healthcare provider(s).”
“Governor Cooper’s March 27, 2020 “stay at home” order prohibits nonessential travel but allows for “travel between one’s place or places of residence for purposes including, but not limited to, child custody or visitation arrangements.” Parties should continue to follow their parenting plan or custody order as written while such orders are in effect unless otherwise directed by the Governor or other executive or judicial order. All parties should adhere to local “stay at home” orders, to the extent they impose greater restrictions on the population, while they remain in effect. Parents are encouraged to check travel restrictions that may exist between states and counties before traveling.”
“The spread of COVID-19, in and of itself, is not a reason to deny parenting time. Unless otherwise ordered by the court, parents are considered fit to care for their child(ren) and make decisions regarding the day-to-day aspects of parenting while the child(ren) are in their care. This day-to-day care includes following both local and state health directives regarding travel, social distancing, and hygienic measures (e.g., frequent hand-washing). Supervised Parenting Time.”
If you have any questions about the attachment we have provided or any specific questions or concerns about your visitation arrangements or obligations during this unusual time in our country’s history, please feel free to contact us. An attorney at Coggin Law would be happy to help you!