2020 has come to a much-welcomed close, and yet Americans are dealing with many of the same issues that arose when COVID-19 first gained a footing in the United States. Child custody is one of these.
The pandemic has surged and waned, affecting countless jobs and putting parents in difficult positions as they attempt to work from home while managing remote learning for their children. Divorced and separated parents face the additional challenge of figuring out child custody arrangements that would still work for their unique situations and schedules while minimizing coronavirus exposure risks.
As we head into 2021, let’s take a look at what issues Massachusetts parents are dealing with related to custody and visitation during the continuing pandemic.
COVID-19’s Initial Impact on Child Custody Arrangements
We first tackled this subject in the blog What About Child Custody Issues During the COVID-19 Crisis, after Attorney Andy Miller was interviewed by Boston 25 News. At the time, family law attorneys were getting countless phone calls about whether custody agreements needed to be upheld, not to mention questions about initiating divorce proceedings.
As the pandemic continued on—far longer than anyone thought possible—parents were forced to figure out custody arrangements, deal with separation or divorce, and handle tricky situations like virtual schooling or finding childcare while in-person schooling was deemed unsafe.
Dealing with COVID & Custody in 2021
It’s been nearly 10 months since Attorney Miller’s interview, and parents are dealing with many of the same issues: concerns about exposure, difficulty having their cases heard in court, and questions about whether custody agreements are still legally enforceable. Some new issues have arisen as well, like more people moving to less expensive cities and states, where their wages go further.
Here are a few tips as you enter 2021 as a divorced or separated parent:
- Comply with social distancing guidelines in your area and communicate with your ex-spouse to make sure they are complying as well. This will help protect your children from undue exposure, which is even more important when children are moving from one household to another on a regular basis.
- Consider having yourself tested regularly for the coronavirus—if this is possible in your area. This can give you peace of mind in knowing that you are healthy and are not unknowingly spreading the virus to others.
- Remember that any custody changes need to be in writing and should be approved by the court. If you are found to be in violation of your child custody agreement, this could negatively affect your right to custody or visitation.
- If a question or dispute arises, first try communicating about it to see if you and your ex-spouse can get on the same page. If not, involve your attorneys.
- If you’re thinking of moving to another city, county, or state, you need to see how this impacts your custody agreement. You can request a modification of custody to support your move, but you need to go through the proper channels to avoid serious problems.
Get Experienced Insight at Miller Law Group, P.C.
Few things are quite as challenging as parenting in the time of COVID, and when you add divorce or separation into the mix, it can be quite overwhelming. At Miller Law Group, P.C., our Massachusetts family lawyers, paralegals, and support staff are here to guide you and protect your parental rights. If you have questions about custody during the pandemic, are nearing divorce, or are in the midst of a custody dispute with your ex, you can count on our team for the level of insight and guidance that will help you find a better way.
Give us a call at (508) 502-7002 today for more information. Your family’s safety and happiness are of paramount importance to our firm.