Till now, litigants in Family Court have had the luxury, at significant cost of taxpayer dollars and resources, of running to the Court with issues like, “My ex wants to exchange access dates to take our child to his grandmother’s 100th birthday party – I hate his grandmother.” Now with Court closings due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and Court availability only in true emergencies, parties will need to dig down, find common ground, and cooperate in the better interest of their children. New Yorkers are the best on the planet at rising to the occasion in a crisis. We did so in response to 911 and we will do so in response to COVID-19, including COVID-19 Divorce Issues. Let’s make this challenge bring out the best in us all.
Hypothetical Examples of COVID-19 Divorce Issues
Question: My ex and I live in Westchester County, New York, a hotbed of the COVID-19 outbreak. I am in the high-risk group for COVID-19. I have family living in West Virginia, a state where there has not, thus far, been a single case of COVID-19 and would like to bring our daughter there to ride out the pandemic but my ex, her father, will not agree. I even asked him to join as he is also in the high-risk group. I do not want to see our child orphaned. Can I use my best judgment in this crisis and take our daughter to West Virginia?
Answer: Without getting your ex’s agreement or going to Court you would be placing your primary custody at risk. With Court closures now and only emergency applications being heard, and amid the onslaught of individual concerns like your own, it is unlikely that you would see your issue come before a Judge for some time. If your issue were to be heard there is not one way to look at the situation or for a Court to rule. Your ex could argue that any traveling with your daughter at this time is dangerous. Your question would require a hearing and holding a hearing now on your issue is not likely to happen anytime soon. So, what to do? Parties who have been operating on litigation mode need to change course and muster whatever negotiating skills they can dredge up. Your ex may have honed the skill of summarily nixing any request you make. You each may see any request of the other as an attempt to usurp your own parenting. Now is the time, when making this or another request, to add a “what’s in it for him”. What are you willing to offer? Consider offering equal time to your child’s father at another time, possibly summer, or giving him upcoming holidays that would otherwise have been your time.
Discuss Your COVID-19 Divorce Issues with an Experienced New York Divorce Lawyer
While we wish you all the very best and the very happiest, we also recognize that sometimes, things just don’t work out. For those moments, you’ll want an experienced New York divorce lawyer with a proven track record on your side. Contact The Mandel Law Firm at (646) 770-3868 today to speak with a skilled divorce attorney.