The Covid-19 pandemic has led to challenges for divorced parents regarding child custody orders and enforcement as well as custody order modifications. Coparents are understandably concerned about protecting their child from coronavirus exposure, and some may wonder whether the current national emergency supersedes the court-ordered child custody arrangements.
For any issues related to child custody, child support and visitation, and parenting plans during the Covid-19 crisis, you should consult with a knowledgeable Austin divorce lawyer. They will guide you about how to deal with the situation while staying on the right side of the law.
Existing Child Custody Orders Remain in Force
The Supreme Court of Texas issued an order on March 24th, 2020, which mandated that all standing child custody orders will remain in effect. The implication of this order that irrespective of the local shelter-in-place and social distancing orders in your area, as a co-parent your child custody or visitation rights still remain protected.
Divorced parents in Texas are required to abide by their current child custody related possession and access schedules. One parent cannot prevent the other parent from exercising his or her right to child possession and access even while the social distancing norms are in place.
Your Austin divorce lawyer in this situation can help you and the other parent focus on the child’s best interests. They could recommend you to have virtual meetings with the child if physical visitation is not feasible. The parent with physical custody can give you a written assurance that they will allow you to make up for the lost parenting time later on when the situation improves.
Child Custody Modification during Covid-19
While many less urgent cases are not being taken up by Texas family courts right now, your Austin divorce lawyer can give you appropriate legal advice about whether your child custody modification request can be prioritized by the courts.
If you are concerned about your child’s safety or have reasons to believe that the custodial parent or their partner are not following social distancing and other safety practices, or could be at risk of coronavirus infection, you may not want to wait until the courts reopen.
In other situations, even if your case cannot be prioritized by the courts at present, it would still be prudent to utilize this time to get fully prepared to pursue your child custody modification case. Once the courts reopen, chances are that there will be a major backlog of cases, and if you are prepared now in consultation with your Austin divorce attorney, you will save precious time.
Potential Situations for Urgent Custody Order Modification
In the following situations, a seasoned Austin divorce lawyer may advise you to approach the court right now to have the custody order modified:
- The custodial parent is denying you access to the child in violation of the court order, and not even agreeing to virtual meetings via video or phone with the child.
- You believe the custodial parent or their partner is at a high risk of coronavirus infection because they are failing to comply with the CDC safety guidelines
- The custodial parent is involved in child neglect or abuse, or the child’s well-being is in danger
Schedule a Virtual Consultation with an Experienced Attorney
The Law Office of Eric M. Willie P.C. is fully equipped to pursue your child custody matter at all times. We will handle your case with the urgency and attention that it deserves. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 512-478-0834 or contact us online.