At Orlando Family Team, we intend on providing our clients with exceptional legal services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Recently, we have received a number of calls from clients expressing their concerns about ex-spouses who are not complying with parenting plans and time-sharing of their children because of fears that they may have contracted the coronavirus.
Obviously, parents have an ethical responsibility to be honest about possible or confirmed exposure to the coronavirus and take appropriate steps to protect their children from exposure. And both parents have a right to know if their children are presenting symptoms of the virus. At the same time, it is critically important that all parties comply with court orders and custody agreements.
Despite the fact that the Orange County courts are operating on a very limited basis and there may be delays in enforcing child custody orders during the pandemic, failing to comply with a court order can have lasting repercussions.
How Families Can Manage During the Covid-19 Pandemic
As a husband and wife team, we truly understand the pressures parents and children are experiencing: social distancing, school closures, being isolated at home, all of which can be enormously stressful. But this is not the time to add to the strife by causing conflicts within the family. However, social distancing does not mean withholding visitation from your ex.
Certainly, we should all be concerned about contracting the virus, but we all have a responsibility to care for ourselves and each other. While no one can predict how long this crisis will last, or how things will look when we make it through, all families have a role to play in beating the coronavirus.
Parents can start by following all safety guidelines and provide an example to their children with frequent handwashing, maintaining social distancing and sanitizing all common-touch areas (e.g. door knobs/handles, countertops, bathroom surfaces).
It is critically important for both parties not to haggle over the details of time-sharing. Both spouses should set their differences aside, stay calm, and provide a safe haven for their children. While it is wise to stay informed, it is best to avoid the 24/7 news cycle and let your children know that things will return to normal.
At the same time, encourage your children to talk about their fears and to ask questions; however, be honest at the age-appropriate level. Given that parents who work in the healthcare sector will be under great stress, and others may be working from home or unemployed, time-sharing plans will inevitably change. Both parents should work together to find creative ways to handle these changes.
Let’s Get Through the Coronavirus Together
At Orlando Family Team, we are committed to helping families navigate the coronavirus pandemic. As family law attorneys, we are fully prepared to help you overcome adversity during these trying times. No matter the circumstances, our mission is to help restore order to your family. Please contact our office to learn how we can help.