In the wake of the COVID-19 virus pandemic happening throughout the world, many parents and children in the United States are being forced to stay at home as part of the effort of slowing the spread of the virus.
Family law attorneys are finding that this abrupt, unexpected change has had a considerable impact on many people’s schedules, including parents who are must adhere to child custody and visitation orders.
To make this all a bit easier on Texas parents dealing with social distancing orders or have conflicts that need resolution, child custody lawyers offer these answers to some common questions parents are asking in these uncertain and inconvenient times.
Do Social Distancing Rules Affect Custody and Visitation Orders?
Essentially, they don’t.
An important fact that attorneys who work with parents on child visitation agreements are stressing right now is that even with social distancing and stay-at-home orders, parents are still required to follow custody and visitation orders to the best of their abilities.
Minor changes to the schedules are permitted if it facilitates adherence and parents are encouraged to work together to resolve scheduling difficulties; however, all weekly, summer, and holiday schedules should be kept as documented in currently filed visitation orders.
If parents make their own temporary changes to custody orders while social distancing orders are in effect, it’s recommended that they be documented.
What If You Can't Follow Current Custody Orders?
When efforts to resolve scheduling and visitation issues continually fail or parents refuse to follow visitation orders, seek the services of a family law attorney who can provide some much-needed guidance.
Even during this period of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, most legal professionals are still able to take care of their clients in various ways
What About Pre-Scheduled Custody or Modification Hearings?
Since most courts have postponed or canceled scheduled hearings due to social distancing orders, attorneys who help clients with child visitation agreements must use alternative methods to assist their clients.
Now more than ever, phone, internet, and video conferencing are serving as critical methods to handle most of the work in these and other court cases until further notice.
How Are Custody Issues Handled During COVID-19?
Currently, lawyers are still able to advise their clients on how to handle difficult custody or visitation circumstances, and they can also file divorces, and custody, and modification petitions with the courts despite the current limitations that make meeting in person or attending hearings impossible.
Mediation is also still available, and a preferred intervention method, as it can be done via video conference using platforms like Zoom and similar applications.
In some cases, it’s also possible to hire private judges to decide simpler divorce cases via a video conference.
Additionally, certain legal documents can still be finalized with a notary via video conference per the April 9, 2020 temporary suspension by Governor Abbott of certain statutes requiring in-court appearance and notarizing.
Let Family Law Attorneys Help With Child Custody Issues
Although we are all forced to limit person-to-person interactions while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas child custody lawyers are still available for those who need them.
Using modern digital technology, lawyers can answer questions, file legal documents and petitions, meet via video conferencing with clients, and arrange mediation for parents seeking divorce, child custody agreements, or even custody order modification.
In these challenging times, necessity definitely does bring about the helpful changes required to keep things moving, even for legal professionals and their clients!
Foreman Family Law
309 North Washington Avenue, Suite 12
Bryan TX 77803