With the coronavirus pandemic uprooting our normal routines, parents sharing custody of their children or currently working through custody proceedings may have questions about changes in their processes.
Above all else, continuing a sense of normalcy during this unprecedented time is crucial for your children’s happiness and well-being. Here’s what you need to know for both new and existing custody issues in the wake of COVID-19:
Existing Custody Arrangements
As much as possible, existing custody arrangements should be followed as normal during this time. Not only is it best for the well-being of the child, it’s also important to follow these rules so there is no risk of falling into legal trouble if the other parent decides to take action against you.
It’s encouraged, however, for parents to be flexible and understanding with each other as we work through this time. Parents should be communicating effectively and be extremely careful to not partake in risky behavior that could contract the virus and potentially spread it to their children or the other parent.
If a parent or the child contracts coronavirus or is around someone who tests positive for the virus, it’s crucial that the parent and child follow the Center for Disease Control self-quarantining guidelines and speak to their doctor before proceeding with custody exchanges as normal. Extended stays with one parent might be necessary, and parents should be willing to make up that lost time later on.
Child support payments should continue to be paid as normal, though if parents are having issues making payments due to changes in income, it’s advised to speak to legal representation to determine potential options and consequences.
Upcoming Custody Arrangements
For those who are going through court proceedings to determine the custody rights for each parent, there may have been a few changes in the process that you aren’t aware of.
In South Carolina, it is still the policy of the Judicial Branch to hold as many virtual hearings as possible. If parents are unable to do virtual hearings and must meet in person, those allowed in the courtroom are limited to parents, children, representation, and any key witnesses. Everyone must wear a mask, and six-feet social distancing rules are applied.
Because child support is determined by gross income, it may be significantly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic if a parent has lost their job. If you’re unsure what your child support payments can be or what you’re able to afford, speak to your legal representation to discuss your options.
Custody hearings can be a complex process in the best of times, and we understand that you want to get through this process as smoothly as possible for the sake of your children and yourself. For those seeking representation for custody-related issues in the Charleston area, the Law Office of Sara Turner can help. With over six years of experience in family law, Sara Turner Law is focused on guiding clients through these matters with compassion and understanding. Contact us today for a consultation.