Some state Supreme Courts have already issued statements regarding the operation of the courts in light of the coronavirus. Colorado is one of them, but the only family law issue the court touched on was to say that hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention will still be heard. Courts will also hear temporary and permanent protection orders matters. Hearings may take place by telephone.
This pandemic has impacted all our lives. So it is not surprising that divorced parents are concerned about safety, and some are wondering whether it is safe for the children to leave the house or see a parent who recently traveled or was potentially exposed to someone with the virus.
What are the priorities?
The critical thing to remember right now is that nothing like this has happened in modern times – we are all seeing this for the first time, and we will need each other to get through it. The focus should be on the well-being of the children and parents.
Where does this leave the parenting plan?
Barring any instruction from the Centers for Disease Control, medical professionals or state officials, it is still in the best interests of the children for both parents to be involved. Moreover, laws generally state that parenting plans should remain in force even if the schools are closed.
Some useful strategies
Co-parents will need to be at their best to get the whole family through this challenging time:
- Health: People need to self-isolate or seek medical help if they were exposed to a known carrier.
- Video: Skype or FaceTime may be the best option for parents who are medical professionals or were potentially exposed.
- Transparency: Provide any information about suspected or confirmed screenings regarding themselves, cases at work or within their social circle.
- Generosity: Let the parent get make-up time if they are self-quarantined or otherwise unsafe because of work.
- Understanding: There will likely be an economic hardship for many before this pandemic passes, so be patient about support payments.
- Mindfulness: This virus could linger for weeks or months, but eventually, it will end, so avoid damaging the relationship with reckless comments or behavior.
Maintaining the priorities
These remarkable events will likely change people. Nevertheless, unless there is a court-approved modification, parenting plans, custody agreements and other family law matters will remain as they were before the coronavirus. If the parents would like to make changes to their arrangements, they should contact an experienced family law attorney working here in Denver and the surrounding communities.