Co-Parenting Through Covid-19 Crisis

Parents shouldn’t have to worry about co-parenting through the Covid-19 Crisis

Yet…here we are. 

Co-Parenting Through the Covid-19 Crisis

As Las Vegas Family Law Attorneys, we are being bombarded with calls from parents asking how to handle co-parenting in the time of Covid-19.

If you are currently involved in a child custody case, have a prior custody order or divorce decree that establishes custody, or if you just aren’t sure what legal rights you have when it comes to child custody and Coronavirus, we’ve got the answers

Keep reading. 

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What You Need to Know About Legal Custody and Co-Parenting Through the Covid-19 Crisis

First, let’s start with a definition of legal custody. 

Legal custody is your right as a parent to information about your child. This includes information about your child’s medical needs, school-related matters, and religious training. 

In most child custody cases or divorce involving children, parents share joint legal custody. 

But in recent weeks, many parents have thrown caution to the wind. They are refusing to abide by the requirement to share joint legal custody. 

What does this mean exactly? 

Well, let’s break it down.

Covid-19, School and Child Custody

Girl and a dog
If classes are online, you and your co-parent need to have a plan for how school work will be completed and who will be responsible for making sure your child attends online classes.

In most jurisdictions, including here in Las Vegas, school has been put on hold or gone to online classes for the time being. 

By now, you are probably wondering, “what do I have to do if I have joint legal custody and school is shut down, on-hold or online?

This is the point where joint legal custody is crucial. It is super important that you and your co-parent communicate about your child’s education. 

When special projects are assigned, you and your co-parent must share this information. 

Failing to keep your co-parent informed, could result in a motion being filed against you for violating the legal custody requirements of your court orders. 

Likewise, if your co-parent is refusing to keep you informed about your child’s education, you have the right to seek enforcement of the legal custody provisions.

Medical Appointments, Legal Custody, and Covid-19

With Coronavirus, the flu, and allergies in full swing, it is super important that you maintain your child’s health. 

It is also essential that during these trying times, information about your child’s medical needs, and health is shared freely between co-parents. 

If you need to make an appointment with a healthcare provider, notify your co-parent as soon as possible. 

Talk to your co-parent about plans in the event your child becomes ill:

  •  Will both of you take turns caring for your child? 
  •  Will your child stay at only one parent’s house? 
  •  Who will be responsible for scheduling follow-up appointments or appointments with specialists?

Discuss these issues, and more, with your co-parent. 

If your co-parent is making medical decisions without notifying you and without your input, they might be violating your custody rights. 

Physical Custody, Visitation and Covid-19

Two children wearing masks look out a window.
Talk to your co-parent about the current physical custody orders. Ask your co-parent if the existing order makes sense in the world of Coronavirus. If you and your co-parent find that changes need to be made to the existing physical custody arrangement, make them. Our recommendation is to try and get any changes, permanent or temporary, in writing.

Physical custody refers to the amount of time each child spends in the care of one parent or the other. 

Do you have an existing physical custody order? What about a temporary custody arrangement? The bottom line is that COVID-19 does not change physical custody arrangements

Simply, a parent cannot refuse to facilitate an exchange because of current closures or fear of spreading the virus. Instead, take precautions during custodial exchanges and make sure there is little interaction between you and another parent.

Isolated due to coronavirus concerns? Talk to your co-parent, and try to find a way to deal with this change. 

What happens when your co-parent does not agree to change the physical custody schedule, but you want changes? It’s good to know you have options. 

You have the right to file a motion with your family court judge. Ask to change your physical custody arrangement. But, keep in mind that if you decide to file a motion to change your current custody arrangement, you must have a good faith basis to do so. 

Not sure if you have a legit reason to change custody? Talk to a family law attorney for more information.  

Interstate Custody Arrangements and Co-Parenting Through the Covid-19 Crisis

A young boy wearing a white mask poses with his hands in front of him.
If your co-parent is withholding custody, you can file a motion with your family court judge asking for your co-parent to be held in contempt. This will force your co-parent to facilitate an exchange and allowing you make-up time with your children.

As stated, the bottom line is that COVID-19 does not change physical custody arrangements. 

If you have an interstate custodial arrangement, you must continue custodial exchanges as you usually would. 

For example, if one parent lives in Nevada, and the other parent lives in Texas, and your schedule requires exchanges every two weeks, you must continue the exchanges. 

If the receiving parent chooses not to utilize airline travel at this time, then you can choose to drive to pick up your child. 

A parent CANNOT refuse to facilitate an exchange only due to travel restrictions. 

Remember, if you refuse to facilitate a court order child custody exchange, a judge can find you in contempt of court. This could result in changes to your current custody orders as well as the other parent being awarded make-up time. 

Vacations, Travel, and Covid-19

Did you have a vacation planned in the next few weeks? 

With Spring Break around that corner, that wouldn’t be a surprise. 

Rest assured that if you were planning a vacation, you’re not entirely out of luck. 

Instead of traveling out of town during your vacation time, you can still choose to utilize your vacation days with your child at home. However, you don’t have to. 

You can also choose to reschedule your vacation for later in the year when you can travel again. 

You must get any changes to vacations noted in writing, and any agreements about changing vacation days in writing as well. 

Be open to the other parent’s requests to change vacation days, because a lot of circumstances are beyond our control. Everyone is having a hard time making plans right now. 

Special Days (Birthdays/Holidays) Through the Pandemic

An empty playground with slides and various equipment
With school being out and children being home, parents can spend more time with their children. For that reason, there is no basis to try and modify custody for special days and holidays. As we all know, social gatherings are banned in a lot of areas around the country. This may include your child’s birthday or any plans for special holidays.

Special days such as birthdays and holidays still take precedence over regular custodial time. COVID-19 has not changed that fact. 

If your Parenting Agreement calls for Parent A to have the child on his/her birthday this year, you cancel your plans, Parent A still will get to spend time with the child. 

You CANNOT restrict the other party’s time with the child simply because party plans or gatherings cannot move forward. 

Custodial Exchanges and Covid-19

If Parent A and Parent B conduct custodial exchanges in a public place, such as a McDonalds, Starbucks, or Grocery Store, you can still conduct exchanges at these locations, even if the sites are currently closed. 

If either party feels uncomfortable doing an exchange during the shutdown, then it would be beneficial for everyone involved to temporarily change the location of the exchange. 

Keep in mind that grocery stores are still open, along with police stations. 

When changes are made to the current custodial exchange schedule or location, get it in writing. This protects all parties. 

Supervised Visitation and Co-Parenting Through the Covid-19 Crisis

COVID-19 is not a reason to restrict visits. 

Supervised visitation is different on a case by case basis, however, if it’s third party supervised, then it is best to utilize skype, zoom or FaceTime until such time an establishment that facilitates supervised visits opens. 

Donna’s House, the court-supervised visitation center in Las Vegas, is currently closed. Make plans for alternative visits or for make-up visitation once the visitation center opens. 

Having supervised visitation in the community? Plan visitation at a park or go for a walk or hike, while practicing social distancing. 

Not sure how to deal with supervised visitation and Coronavirus? It is probably best to contact a family law attorney for more information. 

Tips in The Event You and Your Co-Parent Can’t Make It Work During the Crisis

Our first recommendation is always that you try to work it out with your co-parent during these trying times. 

While communicating with your co-parent may not be ideal, it can save you time and money during this difficult time.

When you just can’t work it out with your co-parent, it might be time to seek legal advice. 

A qualified and skilled family law attorney can help you with bringing your case to the judge even during this shutdown. 

Looking for more advice? Give our office a call at (702) 433-2889, text us, or submit your questions online by using our online form.

Further Reading

Frequently Asked Questions

What does legal custody entail, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Legal custody involves the right to access information about your child’s well-being, including medical needs, education, and religious upbringing. Amidst Covid-19, it’s crucial for co-parents to communicate and share information regarding these aspects of their child’s life to ensure both parties stay informed and compliant with legal requirements.

How should co-parents handle their child’s education when schools are closed or shifted to online classes?

Co-parents should establish a clear plan for facilitating their child’s education during school closures or transitions to online learning. This involves communicating regularly about assignments, projects, and schedules. Failing to keep the other parent informed may lead to legal consequences, such as violating custody requirements.

What are the essential considerations regarding medical appointments and health information sharing between co-parents during Covid-19?

During the pandemic, it’s essential for co-parents to maintain open communication about their child’s health needs. This includes promptly notifying the other parent about medical appointments and discussing plans for caring for the child in case of illness. Failure to involve the other parent in medical decisions may result in legal implications.

How can co-parents navigate physical custody arrangements and visitation during the pandemic?

Co-parents should review existing physical custody orders and consider adjustments that may be necessary due to Covid-19 restrictions. While custody arrangements typically remain unchanged, precautions should be taken during custodial exchanges to minimize the risk of virus transmission. If modifications to custody arrangements are needed, co-parents can seek legal guidance to ensure compliance with court orders.

What should co-parents with interstate custody arrangements consider amidst the Covid-19 crisis?

Co-parents with interstate custody arrangements must continue to adhere to custody agreements, even amidst the pandemic. This may involve finding alternative arrangements for custodial exchanges or adjusting travel plans to comply with safety guidelines. Refusal to facilitate court-ordered exchanges may lead to legal consequences, including changes to custody orders.

How should vacation plans and travel arrangements be adjusted due to Covid-19 restrictions?

Co-parents should discuss and document any changes to vacation plans or travel arrangements necessitated by Covid-19 restrictions. Flexibility and open communication are key in accommodating unforeseen circumstances. If disagreements arise, seeking legal advice can help co-parents navigate complex situations and ensure compliance with court orders.

How do special days like birthdays and holidays impact custodial arrangements during the pandemic?

Special days such as birthdays and holidays should still be honored according to existing custody agreements, even amidst the pandemic. Co-parents should strive to uphold these arrangements while adhering to safety guidelines and local regulations. Failure to comply with custody orders may result in legal repercussions, emphasizing the importance of communication and cooperation between co-parents.

Where and how should custodial exchanges be conducted considering current circumstances?

Custodial exchanges should be conducted in accordance with existing court orders, taking into account safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Co-parents may need to adjust exchange locations or logistics to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines. Clear communication and documentation of any changes are essential to avoid misunderstandings and legal issues.

What options are available for supervised visitation during the Covid-19 crisis?

Supervised visitation arrangements may need to be adjusted during the pandemic, with options such as virtual visits via video conferencing being explored. Co-parents should collaborate to find alternative solutions that prioritize the safety and well-being of the child while adhering to court orders. Seeking legal advice can provide guidance on navigating supervised visitation arrangements during these challenging times.

What steps can co-parents take if they face difficulties in co-parenting during the pandemic?

In cases where co-parents encounter challenges in navigating custody arrangements during the pandemic, seeking legal guidance may be necessary. Consulting with a family law attorney can provide insight into available options and help co-parents resolve conflicts effectively. Open communication and cooperation remain essential in addressing concerns and ensuring the best interests of the child are upheld.

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Offsite Resources You May Find Helpful

Here are seven offsite resources that can provide more information and support for co-parenting during the Covid-19 crisis:

  1. Our Family Wizard: A co-parenting tool designed to reduce conflict and improve communication between co-parents.

  2. CoParenter: A platform that helps parents coordinate schedules, communicate, track expenses, and more.

  3. The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC): An interdisciplinary and international association of professionals dedicated to improving the lives of children and families through the resolution of family conflict.

  4. UpToParents: A free, confidential, and interactive website for divorcing and divorced parents.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Provides guidelines and advice on how to handle shared custody during the pandemic.

  6. The National Parents Organization: A nonprofit that promotes shared parenting, and provides resources and support for divorced or separated parents.

  7. Talking Parents: A communication tool for co-parents that keeps a complete record of all conversations, important dates, and shared files.

What Next?

Are you in need of a family law attorney in Las Vegas?

Look no further than The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm!

Our experienced team is dedicated to helping you get the best results for your family.

We understand how emotional and complex legal matters can be, so we strive to provide top-notch customer service and excellent representation.

With our years of experience navigating the complexities of Nevada marriage laws, trust us with your case: we’ll fight hard for what’s right so everyone involved has peace of mind going forward.

So don’t wait any longer – call us today at (702) 433-2889, and let’s see what solutions The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm can offer you!

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