Child Custody/Parenting Time During And After COVID-19

Divorce affects all involved parties in various ways. Most couples go through an extended grieving process. Children also go through a grief period. In fact, the couple may go their separate ways; but, children continue to see both parents. Consequently, visitation becomes extremely important for the child of this divided union.

Michigan courts will assign physical and legal custody to one or both parents. Both parents usually get joint legal custody. One or both parents receive physical custody of the child or children. The Michigan Child Custody Act states it’s in the best interest of the child to have strong ties with both parents. Of course, if one parent is deemed “unfit” by the Court, then visitation and custody arrangements are established to protect the child. So, the Court always acts in the best interest of the child.

2020 threw a “monkey wrench” into the divorce process. Courts closed down for months and some people had “virtual meetings” with their attorneys and court officials. Additionally, the worry over this contagious virus affected some couples’ visitation schedules. More importantly, some parents came down with COVID-19. As a result, parenting time changes became necessary.

Co-Parenting During And After COVID

Many couples were faced with unique challenges in 2020 and 2021. The following questions and answers may provide guidance regarding the virus and visitation rights.

Q. Do I have to follow the visitation schedule during the Pandemic? YES. Visitation schedules should be followed as closely as possible. Obviously, parents must use common sense. For example, if the noncustodial parent comes down with COVID-19, the custodial parent may keep the child safely at home. When the sick parent recovers, the schedule may resume. During this time virtual visits may help. It’s important to keep a record of any schedule changes and the reasons for the change.

Q. What do I do if my ex prohibits me from seeing my children due to the Pandemic? If this happens contact the Friend of the Court. If that doesn’t help, contact an experienced Family law attorney.

Q. What happens if my child tests positive for COVID-19? The CDC recommends that anyone that tests positive for this virus must quarantine for a period of time. So, the custodial parent would keep the child at home. Remember, the child’s best interests are key and a sick child should stay home to prevent the spread of the virus.

Q. Will I lose custody if I get sick and I must cancel my parenting time? No. You must take care of your health. Hopefully, your ex will not use this illness against you. However, some people are vindictive. So, make sure you have “ocular evidence” to support your illness. In other words, keep your positive COVID-19 test results, any prescribed medicine and records of hospital or doctor visits.

Michigan Family Law & Child Custody Lawyer

The difficulties and challenges resulting from COVID are wide reaching and have been consistent since the early months of 2020. While the medical profession and scientific community is more aware of the risks, complications and mitigation factors surrounding the virus than they were in the beginning, controversy and conflicting opinions as to the proper risk mitigation techniques are widespread. This includes concerns about the use of vaccinations, especially with minors under sole or joint custody. Concerns regarding the health and well being of children is often one of the most emotional and ugly scenarios in family law.

Working with an attorney specializing in family law is strongly recommended in these situations. The expert family law attorneys at Kelly & Kelly PLLC have decades of combined experience helping families work through these issues and achieve amicable outcomes, including working through the family courts. If you are in need of assistance regarding a COVID related custody or parenting time concern, please contact our office today to find out how we can best assist you.

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