Sharing parental responsibilities can be difficult under the best of circumstances. The spread of COVID-19 makes co-parenting even tougher for some, adding stress to the lives of parents and children alike. It’s now more difficult to strictly abide by the terms of visitation agreements, particularly agreements that were ordered before the outbreak.
As North Texas family lawyers, we’ve seen some challenging co-parenting issues arise from the pandemic. Our clients are asking many important questions, such as:
- Do I have to stick to the parenting agreement if I think my ex may have COVID-19?
- What will happen to my parenting time if I contract the virus?
- What if one of us loses our job? What happens regarding child support?
- What happens if I need to modify a custody arrangement? Are the courts still open?.
To get specific answers to these questions, you’ll want to speak with one of our family law attorneys. Until then, we want to share a few ideas and tips to help you be a more effective co-parent during the COVID-19 crisis.
Flexibility Is the Key
COVID-19 has upended our daily routines. Many people are working from home and not commuting. Schools closed this spring and it’s unknown if they’ll open right away in the fall. Tens of thousands of Texans have lost their jobs.
Children can feel the stress caused by all of this, even if they can’t or won’t verbalize it. To help your kids get through it, do everything you can to understand and accommodate your ex’s situation at this moment. They might need to alter the days and times of custody exchanges for a while.
For example, perhaps your ex was scheduled to take your child to an appointment but can’t do it because something has come up. Whatever the issue is, try to work together to come to a practical, workable solution together. This kind of flexibility reduces conflict, in turn reducing the tension your kids’ experience.
Ask About Modifications, if Necessary
If child support and/or alimony orders are involved and one of you loses your job due to COVID-19, be willing and open to modifications of the order(s). Job losses are mounting in Texas—the final week of June saw 96,000 new unemployment applications, the highest number during the pandemic so far.
Try to reach some sort of temporary arrangement on payments to get you through the crisis. An experienced family law attorney can help by creating a modification agreement for you, or you can even create one yourself and have it reviewed by a lawyer.
Keep in mind, out-of-court resolutions could become almost a requirement, because courts could close if the pandemic worsens. Court closures occurred this spring in many states which resulted in courts hearing emergency issues only. This could conceivably happen in Texas, too.
Our Lawyers Are Here to Help Texas Parents
The team at Albin Oldner Law, PLLC is dedicated to helping Texas families navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have a question or concern about a custody arrangement, please call us at (214) 423-5100 or send us a message.
There’s limited physical access to our Frisco and Prosper law offices right now, but our attorneys are available via video conferences, phone calls and email conversations.