The Threat of COVID-19 on Child Custody
As experienced Norcross child custody attorneys, we are dedicated to protecting your rights as a parent and the well-being of your children.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has dramatically affected every aspect of day to day life in Gwinnett County, and throughout the state of Georgia. Schools, businesses, and government agency closures, combined with stay home orders, have had a major impact on parents. This is particularly true among those who are divorced or otherwise living apart and have child custody arrangements in place. The threat of infection has caused some parents to take drastic action in protecting their children, in some cases violating child custody orders that were previously in place.
Parents Concerned About Protecting Children During the Coronavirus Pandemic
According to a May 6, 2020, news report by the Gwinnett Daily Post, more than 30,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Georgia. Due to their extensive contact with the public and potentially sick patients, frontline workers in the medical field have been among the hardest hit. As a result of their exposure, many have had to quarantine themselves, isolating from family and friends.
Parents with child custody orders in place may be inclined to break with previous arrangements in an effort to reduce their child’s risks of exposure, as well as to protect their own health. Health care workers are not the only ones facing this problem. Grocery store clerks, public utility employees, and others considered essential workers all find themselves facing safety issues due to the pandemic. As a result, some parents have taken the drastic step of refusing to allow the other parent time with their child, regardless of any child custody orders that are in place.
Complying with Child Custody Orders During The Pandemic
Not complying with custody orders issued through the Gwinnett County Court is a serious matter. Ordinarily, denying the other parent of certain privileges included as part of court-ordered visitation could result in the loss of your own parental rights. However, the courts have been impacted by the pandemic as well and are currently focused on only essential services. This means that formal efforts to change your current parenting plan or enforce an existing custody order will likely be delayed.
During this time, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. These include:
- Putting the child’s best interests and safety first when it comes to visitation arrangements;
- Being flexible with the other parent in accommodating changes in scheduling;
- Relying on alternative methods of communications when you or the other parent and child are unable to spend time together;
- Keeping a journal detailing your efforts and the circumstances surrounding the situation, in the event legal action is needed in the aftermath of the pandemic.
Reach Out to Our Norcross Child Custody Attorneys
During these challenging times, Zimmerman & Associates is here to help ensure both you and your child are protected. For trusted legal guidance in dealing with difficult situations, contact our Gwinnett County child custody attorneys and request a consultation today.