Handling Shared Custody and Visitation During the COVID-19 Pandemic
On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. A year later, parents are still struggling with sharing custody of their children during this lasting crisis.
If your child custody and visitation situation has changed due to the pandemic, here are some tips to safeguard your child and your family.
Protect Your Child’s Health
If your child has an underlying medical condition that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19 or other respiratory complications, you should speak to your child’s pediatrician and talk to your ex about how to reduce the risk of exposure to your child in both homes.
Follow Your Custody Agreement
Though it’s important to follow social distancing guidelines, these measures should not impact your custody or visitation directly. However, there are certain situations where keeping your child at home rather than at their co-parents may be valid, including:
- If your co-parent is sick with COVID-19 related symptoms.
- If your co-parent is quarantining or was exposed to someone who tested positive.
- If your co-parent has a high-risk job with frequent COVID-19 exposure.
- If your child is at high risk for COVID-19 or is sick themselves.
Temporary Custody or Visitation Changes
While Iowa courts understand the immeasurable pressure parents have found themselves under during the pandemic, denying visitation without extenuating circumstances is not tolerated.
You should otherwise continue with your typical arrangement. However, you could agree to a temporary custody change. As an alternative to in-person visitation, you can plan the following meetings between your child and their parent:
- Facetime or Zoom video conferencing.
- Daily phone calls or text messages to keep in contact.
- Writing letters or cards.
Request an Emergency Custody Order
If you feel that sending your child to your ex’s house could pose a potential risk to their health and you are unable to communicate with them cordially, you can seek out an emergency order with the court. Working with an attorney, you can petition the judge to award an emergency custody order.
Consider Custody Modifications
The pandemic has brought a slew of life changes — including job loss and relocation. If the pandemic has caused your ability to care for yourself and your child to change, it may be best to look into a custody arrangement modification. Any modifications will be considered according to what the Iowa family court feels is the best arrangement for the child.
Child Custody Modifications in Des Moines
Family Law Solutions of Iowa has extensive legal experience representing clients across Iowa with professional, competent, and knowledgeable advocacy.
If you have concerns over your custody order during the pandemic, contact our team today at (515) 305-3474, or visit us online, to book a consultation.