My Baby, Your Virus: How Covid-19 is Affecting Custody

We’ve all seen the memes about Covid-19 (and with all the forced time at home on our hands, we’ve had time to see the memes more than once). Once you hear “Covid-19” to the tune of “come on, Eileen,” you’ll never mispronounce it again. Or you can sing “My Corona” as the chorus of “My Sharona.” My personal favorite is using the old Police song as a mantra – “don’t stand so close to me.” And reciting these classics has just driven home how old I really am. Let’s move on. 

Whether you think we are experiencing a pandemic or you don’t, the current state of national (and world) affairs has impacted literally every one of us in some way – even if it’s only changed the topic of conversation around you. Who thought toilet paper would become an obsession by the third month of 2020? Or that many of us would become schoolteachers overnight? Certainly not me. 

A question that has already come up repeatedly at our law office has been the issue of quarantine and custody. If you share custody of a child who splits her time between homes, shouldn’t you keep her with you during this dangerous time? If she’s with you, you can know she’s safe, right? What if her other parent doesn’t take the pandemic as seriously as you do, and you can’t trust that parent to keep your child out of public spaces? What if the other parent didn’t plan ahead, as usual, and runs out of toilet paper while your child is at their house? 

You know to expect the usual legal disclaimer at this point in the conversation: every situation is different. But overall, absent an emergency situation, court orders are laws to be followed, and custody and parenting plans are court orders. That means we parents should continue to follow normal operating procedure, as we survive the next weeks of chaos. If you think your specific situation has an emergency issue, call us to discuss it. There are special requests we can file with the court now to address unusual circumstances that are impacting parents and children, even during this difficult time. If you aren’t sure whether your situation presents an emergency, call us anyway – you know how much lawyers love to talk, even in the midst of a global crisis.