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COVID-19 and Child Custody – One Year Later

We are approaching the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last March, when stay-at-home orders went into effect, many of us could not predict the challenges the pandemic would create, especially when it came to child custody matters. With courts closed, many families tried to navigate these challenges on their own, juggling co-parenting as best as possible while working from home and monitoring the children’s at-home learning. Not easy.

Here we are a year later. Many of use with empty seats at the table. We are forever changed. But we’ve also adapted. And with respect to new routines, parents are getting accustomed to tackling the challenges of co-parenting amidst this major health crisis.

How Parents Are Handling the Challenges

From the start of the pandemic, very few states released statements that instructed parents to comply with their child custody order. Without any clarity regarding visitation, many parents took matters into their own hands, attempting to navigate these obstacles without legal assistance. For some, it worked, but for others, the situation seemed impossible, especially in cases where parents could not agree on safety precautions.

Additionally, once courts began to open up, virtually and in-person, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated the best interest standard that custody-related decisions are based on. Even expert guidance regarding safety practices frequently changed as new information was learned about this novel virus. With so much uncertainty, it was not always clear what arrangement would be in the best interests of the children.

Increased Cooperation

For some families, simply following the court order was not a practical option. It is not legal to change a custody agreement without consulting the other parent, so many either learned how to work together to alter it or took their case to court to obtain a new order from a judge.

Many divorced parents are also relying heavily on video chatting tools, such as FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom, allowing their children to maintain substantial contact with both parents even while they were away or social distancing.

We are hopeful that the end is in sight with the advent of the vaccine; however, our children will not be vaccinated anytime soon and we are still very much in the worst of this global pandemic. If you are still encountering issues related to custody, you can seek a modification with the assistance of an experienced attorney.

Let Our Family Law Team Help You Overcome the Child Custody Obstacles You Are Facing

We are all adjusting to the changes the COVID-19 pandemic created, but some challenges may still arise that require legal representation and the team at Foster McCollam Wright, PLLC can assist you. You can rely on our compassionate and results-driven team to secure the best results for your case.

Call our law office today at (703) 420-7011 to schedule a consultation.

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