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Should potential exposure to coronavirus be grounds for a change in child custody orders?

As COVID-19 continues to infect hundreds of thousands of people nationwide, parents everywhere are grappling with difficult decisions when it comes to keeping their children safe. Parents are being forced to confront a new reality involving homeschooling, no playdates, and the constant fear of illness. For divorced parents, coronavirus is wreaking havoc on custody schedules and at times even spurring court battles. Our Midland, Texas child custody lawyers discuss the potential impact of the coronavirus and your child custody arrangements below.

Coronavirus Brings Fear and Confusion to Divorced Parents

Amidst social distancing and stay-in-place orders, divorced parents who share custody are struggling to ensure their children stay safe, even when they are not present. For divorced parents with an amicable relationship, discussing what precautions they want taken concerning the children may come easy. For parents with a more tenuous relationship, the coronavirus can exacerbate communication problems.

Some parents are finding themselves in disagreement over how to approach the virus. At times, one parent will find it acceptable to continue to have get-togethers with other children, while another will want to take a stricter approach to social distancing. Other times, one parent may be an essential worker at risk of exposure, or be remarried to an essential worker, and the other parent may have concerns about contact.

Logistically, the virus and its ensuing stay-at-home orders have impacted parents’ normal custody routine. Many parents used workplaces or schools as their exchange point, and these places are now often closed. Some parents may risk violating stay-at-home orders to drop or pick up children from the other parent. Parents may further need to change their arrangements so that they can work from home. Additionally, parents living in different states may not feel it’s worth the risk for children to travel by car or plane.

Making the situation all the more complicated, courts in Texas and nationwide have closed to all but emergency matters. The Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling following so much concern among parents. The order states that parents should follow their current custody schedules in place prior to the coronavirus shut down. Nonetheless, some parents are finding they need court involvement due to critical concerns for their children’s safety. Parents who feel following their current custody schedule poses a serious risk to their child’s health should consult with a child custody lawyer for assistance.