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Custody in the Time of COVID-19

April 1, 2020

It has never been a scarier time to be a parent, let alone a co-parent. Coordinating custody exchanges amidst a global pandemic while trying to keep your kids safe feels like a herculean task. Now more than ever is the time to have a plan in place and clear communication with your co-parent. No idea where to start? Take a look at this checklist for some ideas:

  • Do you both acknowledge that there is currently a national emergency and global pandemic related to COVID-19 (aka coronavirus)? If not, seek the advice of an attorney.
  • With schools and daycares closed, can you adjust the access schedule to maximize each parent’s opportunity to work?
  • Agree on where the children will stay if a shelter-in-place or quarantine order is issued by the local, state or federal government (and the order does not include a specific exception or guidance for the exchange of custodial time for children). In that case, set up specific times for FaceTime with the non-access parent.
  • If either parent becomes ill with coronavirus, is suspected of having coronavirus, or has come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, agree that the children shall stay with the other parent for fourteen (14) days. Set up a regular call/FaceTime schedule during the quarantine.
  • Identify two potential backups to care for your children if both parents become ill with coronavirus, are suspected of having coronavirus, or have come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus.
  • Agree to immediately disclose if you or anyone in your immediate family contracts coronavirus or is suspected of having coronavirus.
  • If a child falls ill, agree to seek the advice of the pediatrician. Have both parents on the call/virtual appointment or at the physical appointment with the pediatrician. Agree to follow the advice of the pediatrician. The parent with whom the child is quarantined should provide daily updates to the other parent.
  • Agree to stay socially distanced from the outside world during this global pandemic until distancing is no longer recommended by the CDC for the United States in general. Social distancing should be defined by the CDC.

If you have questions or concerns related to your custody arrangements, contact the Albany divorce and family attorneys at LaClair & DeLuca. Call us at (518) 650-8861, or email admin@laclairdeluca.com.