Coronavirus Is Harming Child Custody Agreements


People around the world are facing a serious pandemic, the likes of which haven't been seen in decades. The majority of people are scared, nervous, and isolating themselves at home to avoid the possibility of contraction. While this scenario is keeping people healthy and at less risk of exposure, parents who do not live together but share custody of children are dealing with frustrating challenges.

New York Courts Are Closed

Commonly, if parents are having custody issues, they can seek a judgment or modification to their arrangement from a local court. With stay-at-home orders in place, however, courts are only open to emergency situations such as domestic violence protection orders. This means that if you are having a non-emergency custody issue, the court will not hear your case until after the order is lifted. However, you can still seek legal advice from a child custody attorney.

Custodial Parents Are Refusing to Relinquish Custody

Some parents believe that since the courts are closed they do not have to uphold their existing custodial arrangements. Some parents with primary custody are refusing to allow the other parent court-allotted time with their child. Whether because neither parent has their own transportation and does not want to risk exposing their family to the risks associated with using public transportation, or because they believe the other parent has been exposed to the virus, some parents are being denied their rightful child visitations. Many parents continue to uphold custody arrangements through the use of media devices such as FaceTime, Zoom, and texting. However, non-custodial parents are growing frustrated with these arrangements and would like to see their children in person.

Non-Custodial Parents Are Refusing to Obtain Custody

Other custodial parents who are maintaining court-ordered custody arrangements are facing their own challenges. Non-custodial parents are either refusing to pick up or meet with their child as scheduled or only meeting with them for short periods of time. For example, say a custodial parent has access to their child every weekday. Since the New York stay-at-home order was mandated, this parent has included making sure their child is doing schoolwork, eating all meals, bathing, and completing chores. By refusing to honor the custodial arrangement, the other parent is not upholding their responsibility to care for the child and ensure their well-being.

Offering Sound Legal Advice

The Law Office of Ava G. Gutfriend remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, I am only conducting consultations over the phone or video conference. This is for the safety of you and your family. If you are having child custody issue and are not sure how to proceed, my firm can give you clear and direct guidance. To schedule your consultation, call our firm at (888) 448-2068 or contact us online today.