Handling Joint Custody Arrangements in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Two children sitting in car | Child Custody

Divorce resulting in joint custody can be challenging in the best of times. But handling joint custody arrangements in the COVID-19 pandemic can be a nightmare for families. Most often, both parents want to ensure that the children remain safe and are protected from infection, but the adults may disagree vastly on how to accomplish this.

While one parent may want children to return to school, the other parent may feel strongly that children should stay home and be educated virtually until the pandemic has subsided. While one parent may think it’s okay for children to visit elderly grandparents, the other parent may feel that visiting grandparents is off limits for now, to protect the elderly from exposure given their higher risk of complications.

These can be tough and often emotional conversations with an ex-spouse, and they can result in very contentious arguments. If this describes your situation, it may be time to hire a lawyer to negotiate a new or enforce an existing custody arrangement. A third-party arbiter, like an attorney, can often help clients who are frustrated by custody difficulties. To find out more about how a skilled and experienced lawyer can assist you in handling joint custody arrangements in the COVID-19 pandemic, call Wolfe & Stec at 630-305-0222 for a free consultation.

A joint custody arrangement in COVID-19 pandemic can be complicated

When a judge initially approved your joint custody arrangement (if you already have one), it is highly unlikely that either the judge or the attorneys envisioned anything like 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, it would have been nearly impossible to anticipate the questions and challenges that would arise. Some of the difficult decisions parents currently have to navigate include:

  1. Should children return to in-person school?
  2. Can children play and interact with friends face-to-face?
  3. Are sleepovers allowed?
  4. If a child begins to cough or has a temperature, at what point is the other parent required to take them to the doctor or the emergency room?
  5. Can the other parent have houseguests, backyard parties, or other groups of people present when children are staying over?
  6. Is the other parent requiring the children to wear masks when they go out in public?
  7. Who are the children being exposed to when they are not in your care?

These are just a few of the many worrisome questions that plague parents when they are involved in a joint custody arrangement in the COVID-19 pandemic.

For those parents currently going through a divorce who don’t yet have joint custody arrangements in place, it is extremely important to negotiate and hash out these COVID-19 issues as part of ongoing custody discussions.

Handling child custody visitation during COVID-19

Visitation has always been complicated, but it just got 100 times more complicated when COVID-19 showed up. Every parent’s worst fear is that their child will be exposed to the virus due to irresponsible behavior by their ex-spouse. Whether this means taking the children to crowded places, not enforcing hand washing and good hygiene, or allowing children to go over to multiple friends’ houses unsupervised, these decisions affect the health and well-being of children now more than ever.

If you have an ex-spouse who is chronically irresponsible, then you likely have growing fear that your children’s health is in danger when they spend time with the other parent.

You have the right to call your attorney and a social worker if you feel your children are being recklessly exposed to the virus when you’re not with them. It may also be time to contact an attorney so you can take your ex-spouse to court and re-negotiate existing visitation schedules.

If you feel your ex-spouse is endangering your children’s health during the pandemic, a skilled and aggressive lawyer at Wolfe & Stec can help. We know that handling child custody visitation during COVID-19 is tough, and we’ll bring the power of the law to bear to make sure your children remain safe. Call us at 630-305-0222.

Who can drop off and pick up children during the pandemic?

When deciding who can drop off and pick up children during the pandemic, arguments can arise. Where once you may have been okay with your ex-spouse’s girlfriend or boyfriend transporting the children, now you may have a more conservative view and want only the ex-spouse themselves to pick up or drop off the children. These are unprecedented times, and you may be working hard to limit the number of people your children come into contact with so they are not exposed to the virus.

It is difficult to enforce such limited contact with others if it is not spelled out in writing in a custody agreement. While it may seem to you like the wise thing to do, your current custody agreement may not give you the legal right to do this.

Experts agree that COVID-19 is going to be with us for a while, so we have to create new ways of existing in the midst of it. If you are deeply unhappy with the way your ex-spouse is treating your children during the pandemic, it may be time to take legal action.

Or if you have lost your job due to COVID-19 business closures, you may be struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of your children. So, it may be time to renegotiate child support agreements and ask for greater financial support because your employment situation has changed. All of these are legal issues that a skilled attorney can address on your behalf.

Contact a skilled attorney today to help with joint custody arrangements in the COVID-19 pandemic

Custody arrangements are complicated during normal times, which means they’re extremely complicated and highly emotional when a contagious, worldwide pandemic hits. We understand that existing custody agreements may be inadequate now that these new infection and virus threats exist. Your children’s health and safety are extremely important to you, and you need a tough and aggressive lawyer who will fight for a joint custody arrangement that protects them. To find out more about how Wolfe & Stec can help, call us at 630-305-0222.

Attorney Natalie Stec

Natalie M. Stec, born and raised in Illinois, and earned her Bachelor of Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her practice has been concentrated in significant pre and post decree marital and family law cases; including custody, visitation, support, and paternity matters. She has important criminal defense experience in both misdemeanor and felony cases. She is a very dedicated and passionate litigator. [ Attorney Bio ]