COVID-19, Child Custody, and the Courts in New York
Parents across the state have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. There have been long and unexpected school closures, causing parents to have to adjust their work schedules at the flip of a dime. Parents have had to become teachers as COVID has forced their children’s classes to go virtual.
For parents who share children but live separately, COVID has thrown a real wrench into their child custody agreements and parenting plans. Because of the changes we’ve had to make to safely adapt to the pandemic and other factors that have been out of any one individual’s control, many divorced parents have dealt with issues that their child custody arrangements don’t address.
Courts all across the country have been severely impacted by COVID-19, and New York is no different. Traditionally, family courts face serious backlogs and delays in family court hearings and issuing orders. COVID has only made this worse. Especially at the beginning of COVID, courts closed their doors so employees and officers of the court could quarantine at home. Some courts transitioned to virtual hearings and proceedings, but this mode was mostly reserved for emergency family law issues.
Now, while many courthouses have resumed normal operations because the court closures created even more backlog, many family law disputes are stuck in limbo as the courts try to catch up on a now backlogged backlog of cases.
Stay-at-Home Orders and Visitation
Particularly during the peak of COVID, most of the country was stuck at home in quarantine. This created difficulty for parents to abide by the visitation rules stated in their child custody and parenting agreements. For parents sharing joint custody, trading off the child between two households became incredibly difficult. The times stipulated in the child custody/parenting agreement during which the child is supposed to be in the custody of each parent may not coordinate with stay-at-home orders.
Child Custody, Visitation, and COVID Infections
When one parent or the child gets sick with COVID, it can impact either parent’s visitation schedule. If one parent contracts COVID and the child has been exposed to that parent, for the safety of all parties, it may be necessary to change the agreed-upon visitation schedule. The same is especially true if the child contracts COVID. The child may not be well enough to leave the custody of one parent and go into the custody of the other parent. Visitation schedules may need to be rearranged for when the child recovers from the virus.
Addressing Issues with Child Custody as a Result of COVID
Some parents have been able to adjust their child custody arrangements and visitation schedules as needed during the pandemic. But many parents have not been able to resolve these issues on their own. Disputes may need to be filed with the courts, which are facing delays. Nonetheless, a court-ordered modification to the child custody agreement may be the only way to address these issues.
Contact The Mandel Law Firm If You Have a Child Custody Issue Due to COVID
If you’re having ongoing issues with child custody because of the COVID pandemic, call The Mandel Law Firm at 646-770-3868 or contact us online. Our child custody and visitation lawyers have decades of experience helping parents handle this most delicate issue. We’re here to advocate for you by working to ensure that your child’s best interests are at the center of the resolution of your issue. We’ll do everything we can to get you a timely result.