Denying Access in the Time of the COVID-19
We are receiving a lot of questions right now about whether custody exchanges have to take place given that schools have closed, employees are being told to work from home, and that we’re all hearing the word “social distance” repeated over and over. What’s the answer?
The answer is you have an existing custody order and/or parenting plan. Follow it. Follow it again and be reasonable with the other parent. Make accommodations with exchange locations if you typically meet in public places that may be closed or unsafe due to the possible spread of the virus.
If one of you denies custody or visitation to the other parent without good cause shown, then the parent denied custody or visitation can file what is called a Family Access Motion.
Right now, Covid-19 or the Corona Virus has not been determined to be “Good Cause” for denying custody or visitation. In a time when judges are worried about taking care of the elderly, the sick, the poor, and making sure that due process is provided to criminal defendants when the rest of the court’s dockets have been continued you do not want to be “that parent” who denied custody or visitation. Covid-19 will not be considered “good cause” for not allowing the other parent to see the children you share together.
If you are that parent who has been deprived of the right to have your children know that most law firms are open virtually and that you can schedule a phone or zoom consult in order to get the paperwork started in order to file a Family Access Motion. A Family Access Motion entitles you to make up time, counseling with your child at the offender’s cost, and/or attorney’s fees.
You can’t change the terms of your existing custody order with a Family Access Motion but if you are being denied custody or visitation without good cause there is a remedy for you. Please contact us for more information.