How COVID-19 Affects Your Child Custody Arrangement

COVID-19 & Child Custody in New York

With tens of thousands of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 leading to schools and businesses closing their doors, many people wonder whether or not their child custody arrangements should carry on as usual. Parents throughout New York are rightfully concerned about the potential dangers of shuffling their children back and forth between houses during this stressful time.

As of March 22, Governor Cuomo announced that New York State would be put on pause and issued a 10-point order as to how that would look— it did not include any stipulations about how to handle child custody arrangements. While families are required to avoid gatherings and only use public transportation in emergencies, it is okay for parents to drive between homes and allow their child(ren) to carry on with normal custody arrangements.

Shouldn't Children Shelter in Place?

Whenever possible, children should remain at home and avoid going outside. This is especially true if you suspect that spending time in the other parent's home could put your child(ren) at risk of infection. However, no laws have been enacted yet that would force children to stay in one home and not be subject to the custody plan.

For example, while you may be vigilant about staying inside and social distancing, the other parent may feel okay with taking your children out and carrying on without proper caution. These are serious concerns, and thankfully, you have options to protect your loved ones.

Filing an Emergency Custody Order

If you are seriously concerned about having your children spend time at their other parent's residence, you may want to consider seeking an emergency temporary child custody order with help from a Dutchess County family law attorney. This will allow you to make momentary changes and take proactive action for the well-being of your children.

An emergency custody order can put temporary guidelines in place, such as postponing certain visits, maintaining contact over the phone or virtually, and finding other ways to limit contact until it is safe to do so.

Are Courts Open to Make These Changes?

Because of COVID-19, all NY State courts are closed except for essential business. Anyone who has symptoms of the virus is ordered to stay away. Therefore, the only way to make changes to a custody order is to show that making those changes is an emergency matter that must happen immediately. The Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC can help you contact the right people, make your case, and file the proper paperwork.

For more information, contact the Law Office of Dennis R. Vetrano, Jr., LLC by calling (845) 605-4330 or contacting the firm online.