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Can COVID Affect My Child Custody Agreement?

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the lives of individuals and families worldwide for the past two years. In addition to the myriad of struggles that have accompanied COVID, divorced parents with children now must navigate adjustments and changes to their child custody agreements.

Many parents’ child custody agreements have been affected by shutdowns, travel restrictions, and school and business closures amidst other changes. While determining child custody is one of the most delicate issues in a divorce case, parents now need to modify these agreements in response to the effects of the pandemic.

How Might COVID-19 Affect My Child Custody Agreement?

Parents who have child custody agreements feel the strain of COVID-related changes and protocols. Child custody agreements typically include details about how each parent can communicate with their child, with which parent the child will live when the child visits each parent, and other related matters. Unfortunately, several issues regarding child custody agreements, visitations, and parenting time have arisen for parents across the country.

Communication and Visitation

COVID has changed the way we’re able to communicate with one another, especially during the height of the pandemic. Facetime and Zoom became our recurrent forms of communication. However, the use of video communication apps may stray from the agreed-upon communication in the child custody agreement.

Further, when COVID infections peak, someone in either household is exposed to the virus, or one parent gets sick with the virus, it could change a parent’s ability to see their child in person. At certain times, a parent may not be able to maintain in-person visitation with their child and may need to communicate outside of the times and modes stated in the child custody and parenting agreement.

School and Work Closures

In response to COVID infections and exposure, employees, parents, and students have adapted to frequent closures. For parents, especially, this has been incredibly difficult. When a child’s class must quarantine, or their school closes due to COVID, working parents have to scramble to find last-minute childcare or change their work schedule. If the child is in the custody of one parent per the child custody agreement when a school closure happens, the non-custodial parent at the time may need to step in to take care of the child if there aren’t any alternative care options.

Financial Strain

When the parents’ child custody agreement was determined, the financial status of both you and the other parent may have been different pre-pandemic. Many people have been affected financially by COVID. If the custodial parent faces financial difficulty due to the pandemic, it could make caring for the child more difficult. If one parent who has joint custody of the child is faring better financially, they may have to take on more responsibility the child custody agreement doesn’t account for.

How to Resolve Issues with Your Child Custody Agreement

If your child custody agreement doesn’t adequately address these issues, both parents may need to seek a modification to the agreement. If both parents can address these issues or make changes as needed on their own, then the court may not need to be involved. If the parents cannot agree on the modifications, a family law attorney can help you petition the court for a modification to your child custody agreement.

Call The McKeon Law Firm for Help with Your Child Custody Matter

For nearly 30 years, our Maryland family law attorneys at The McKeon Law Firm have been dedicated to helping families during some of the most difficult times in their lives. We’re committed to advocating for our clients in their family law issues, including divorce, separation, and child custody issues. We know family issues need to be handled and resolved with care and compassion. Our Gaithersburg family law lawyers endeavor to provide that support in every case we handle.

For help with your child custody agreement or other family law issues, call The McKeon Law Firm at 301-417-9222 or contact us by sending us a confidential message online today.

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