Is COVID-19 an Excuse to Withhold Parental Visitation?

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the daily lives of parents all over the country. From learning how to homeschool to trying to work at home, parents are trying their hardest to adapt to these changes and do the best they can for their children. Some divorced parents are wondering how the shelter-at-home orders will impact their visitation and custody over their children. If you’re a parent whose visitations are being withheld because of the COVID-19 health crisis, you still have a right to see your child. Here’s everything you need to know about the COVID-19 pandemic and your visitation rights as a parent.

If you’re struggling to get or keep custody over your children right now, we can help. Davis, Ermis and Roberts is a firm of talented, experienced attorneys who can help you regain or keep custody over your child. We’re currently offering phone calls and video conferences so we can continue helping all of our clients while social distancing is recommended. 

Wrongful Withholding

All child custody orders remain in place right now, even during this difficult time. If your ex-partner is using COVID-19 as an excuse to keep you from seeing your child, this is not within their rights. You still have the right to see your child as often as usual. This is called ‘wrongful withholding’, and it isn’t legal. If your co-parent is keeping you from seeing your child, you should file a motion for custody as soon as possible. Wrongful withholding isn’t just unfair to you, it’s also unfair to your child. If a child is used to seeing their parents on a schedule, it can be extremely difficult for them to suddenly not be able to see their other parent anymore. For the sake of you and your children, legal action should be taken as soon as the other parent wrongfully withholds your child.

Your Options

When your co-parent tries to keep you from your children, you should file a motion for custody right away. If you don’t want to pursue legal action right away, you can try to stipulate, or agree, on a new child custody order outside of a courtroom. If you think you can work this issue out without legal action, it might be the best option for everyone involved. If stipulation isn’t an option in your situation, you can try mediation. Mediation is a non-binding agreement that involves a judge. It works the same as stipulation, but a judge is involved as a neutral third party to help both parents reach an agreement. Retired judges are currently offering remote mediation services to help resolve child custody disputes without in-person meetings. If neither of these options are successful, you should file a motion for custody. 

Davis, Ermis and Roberts Can Help

If you’re dealing with the wrongful withholding of your child, you might have no choice but to pursue legal action. At Davis, Ermis and Roberts, our talented legal team is dedicated to helping you get the visitation you deserve. Our attorneys are available to meet with you over phone calls or video conferences, and we’ll do everything we can to get you reunited with your children as soon as possible.