As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the country, many individuals are practicing social distancing and following other guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a temporary statewide stay-at-home order that will remain in effect until at least April 15. The order requires individuals to only leave their homes if they are performing an essential job or for other important purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy.
In these unprecedented times, you may have additional questions about your family law matters, including custody arrangements and co-parenting options. Below, we provide some information and resources to help you during this global crisis.
Custody Plans and Co-Parenting
If you are sharing custody with your child’s other parent, you may be concerned about how social distancing practices could impact your co-parenting arrangement. Adhering to normal visitation schedules could put you or your child at higher risk of contracting or spreading the disease.
As of now, social distancing guidelines do not directly impact custody orders. Generally, you should continue to follow them, unless you and the other parent both agree on an alternative plan or a judge changes the custody agreement.
The most important and effective thing you can do is communicate with your child’s other parent and use common sense. Think about both your short-term concerns and the long-term impacts on you, your child, and your entire family.
If you have valid concerns about your child’s health, bring them to the attention of your child’s other parent. If the other parent brings up concerns with you, listen to them openly and try to come to a conclusion that is, most importantly, in the best interest of your child.
While temporary social distancing orders are in place, you may suggest temporary alternatives to your custody arrangement.
For instance, you and the other parent can:
- Temporarily postpone in-person visitation
- Schedule daily phone calls and virtual meetings, such as Facetime or Zoom
- Write letters and send pictures and videos over text
In the event that your child’s other parent has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-quarantined, visits will most likely need to be postponed.
Court Delays and Backlogs
You may be wondering how courts will be affected by COVID-19. You should expect significant delays with your case, as courts are only hearing the most important cases or emergency situations in person. In the meantime, phone calls or Zoom meetings may be used as alternatives for legal matters. Make sure to speak with an attorney who can guide you through this process during court slowdowns.
This doesn’t mean you should wait to pursue your family law matter. The sooner you get into contact with a family law attorney, the more time they will have to gather the evidence and documents required to build a solid case that benefits your family’s best interests.
For updates from the Orange County Superior Court, visit their official website.
Virtual Legal Assistance from Our Team
No one knows when things will get back to normal. In these unprecedented times, we know you may feel even more stressed about your family law matters. Our skilled team at US Legal Group, APC is here to serve you and your family during the coronavirus outbreak.
Our firm remains fully operational and can provide you with remote legal services during this global crisis. We are here to stand by your family’s side through these trying times.