Custody in the Time of Corona

I suspect there isn’t a single person in the State of New Jersey, or the country (probably even the world) who hasn’t been affected by the notorious Coronavirus.  In addition to the health crisis we are all facing, global markets have crashed and countless have lost their jobs.

By now, we have all heard the cry to “stay home and save lives,” the needfor social distancing, staying at least six feet apart from each other, distance learning.  These terms have become part of our regular vernacular in just a few short weeks.  Parents all over the country are now homeschooling their children whether they like it or not!  How many memes have you seen so far trying to find the humor in all this?

It is hard enough trying to navigate through this new normal as an intact family unit.  What about those families who are now separate households and who have to find a way to co-parent together?  What does this new norm mean for custody and parenting time?  Are you required to allow the other parent to have parenting time?  Can you refuse parenting time?

First and foremost, every parent dealing with the issue of custody exchanges has to remember that the children’s best interests always come first.  If a scheduled custody exchange may potentially put the kids’ safety at risk, perhaps a reevaluation of the scheduled parenting time is necessary.  If you are scheduled to pick up the kids this weekend, does it make more sense to skip it?  If your ex has agreed to skip parenting time, are you cooperating in offering makeup parenting time at a later date?

Judges have made clear that they are hoping to see cooperation between parents during these unprecedented times.  They have indicated that they don’t want to see parents using this as an opportunity to withhold parenting time.  On the other hand, they also don’t want to see parents insisting on parenting time if the circumstances place the children at risk.  Cooperation and common sense should govern.  Both will go a long way in demonstrating good faith to a judge and in showing your children that you can work together for their sakes.

If you are experiencing any issues with parenting time or have questions on how to proceed during this difficult time, do not hesitate to reach out to Birz Law.  Contact us at either (201) 701-1218 or to schedule your consultation today.

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