Negotiating custody is one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce case. Unfortunately, no one anticipated that COVID-19 would create challenges for many of those arrangements. Even parenting schedules that worked well before the pandemic may now become a source of conflict.
If your parenting situation is leading to disputes, you may need to consider renegotiating custody due to COVID-19 concerns. These disagreements can escalate and cause serious problems for your family. If you are in this situation, speak to a New Jersey family law attorney about your legal options.
COVID-19 May Cause Changes in Schedules
Many children are learning remotely from home, which means that an adult must be present. This new development may prevent a parent from working as they did before. Childcare arrangements outside of school may also fall through because of the need to socially distance.
A family may also struggle if a parent is an essential worker facing daily exposure to the virus. In a co-parenting arrangement, this exposure can create risks for all involved when the children go between houses. Additionally, an essential worker is likely unable to stay with their children during the day when they are doing online school.
These new developments may make a custody plan no longer workable. It is best for families to handle these issues collaboratively, but that will not always be feasible. For anyone struggling with differing co-parenting views and complicated familial disputes, it is important to speak to a skilled New Jersey attorney right away.
Denied Visitation Because of COVID
Other custody problems may arise if one parent fears that the other parent will expose their children to the virus. These concerns can lead to refusals of visitation and further disputes. Some of these actions might be out of legitimate concern for the family’s safety, while others might be opportunistic attacks to prevent the other parent from seeing their children.
Parents are still obligated to follow custody arrangements, even if they fear exposure to the virus. Without alternate pandemic plans stated in a parenting agreement, the previously established schedule remains in effect. However, there may be situations where a parent creates a high risk of exposure for a vulnerable individual. In these cases, the other parent may consider filing a motion to modify the schedule and minimize risks.
However, changing the schedule without consulting with an attorney and appealing to the court is an ill-advised move that could result in legal ramifications. Anyone worried about these issues should contact a nearby family lawyer to learn their options for keeping their children safe.
Child Support and Modifications
Courts assess child support payments based on the income of the families and the parenting schedules. A modification to a visitation arrangement could also lead to a modification of the support payments.
Many Americans are currently struggling to make what they earned prior to the virus. This means that changes to child support might be necessary regardless of any modifications to the custody schedule. Regardless of the circumstances, anyone considering custody or support modifications should consult an experienced New Jersey attorney.
Ask a Lawyer about Renegotiating Custody in the Pandemic
Custody is one of the most difficult components of a divorce to negotiate. Having to work through these agreements in an unprecedented pandemic can be even more stressful. It is crucial to work towards an arrangement that protects the children and promotes healthy relationships with both parents.
In the best-case scenarios, the parents will be able to view their options and communicate to find a workable schedule for the time being. However, families unable to agree on modifications should reach out to a New Jersey lawyer as soon as possible for help resolving custody disputes during COVID-19.