How Coronavirus Social Distancing Is Affecting Children in Custody Battles

April 30, 2020

The U.S. has been dealing with the effects of the novel coronavirus since January, when we saw our first confirmed case. Since COVID-19 is highly contagious, many states have since implemented social distancing policies. These policies aim to slow the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect citizens’ health. While studies show that social distancing is working, this practice is having another effect altogether.

Children in custody battles are feeling the impact of social distancing, as co-parenting becomes increasingly difficult to manage. If you are running into child custody issues as a result of the coronavirus, contact our San Jose family law attorney for help.

How to Practice Effective Social Distancing in California

Practicing effective social distancing requires real effort. California’s stay at home order prohibits leaving home except when absolutely essential. When out, the mandate asks that people keep 6ft of distance between one another. It also recommends avoiding direct contact with people who are not in your shared household. Avoiding large gatherings and public transportation is also key at this time.

For people who have contracted COVID-19, the CDC recommends isolating oneself from others. People who have been directly exposed to the virus should self-quarantine. This means isolating oneself from others for at least 14 days while monitoring for signs of illness.

How Coronavirus Is Affecting Children in Custody Battles

Coronavirus fears and risks are especially affecting the lives of children in custody battles. After a divorce, a custody agreement will determine visitation rights and a schedule for splitting time with children. However, the recent social distancing policies brought about by coronavirus complicates those plans. For example, parents must now contend with questions like:

  • How safe is it for my child to jump back and forth between homes during the current pandemic?
  • Is complying with a custody agreement considered an essential reason to leave the home at this time?
  • How strictly is the other parent following social distancing guidelines?
  • What would happen if the other parent contracts COVID-19?
  • Should I comply with the custody agreement if the other parent works in the medical field and comes into close contact with COVID-19?
  • Should I prohibit my child from visiting the other parent if there has been an outbreak in their community?

These are very serious questions that divorced parents must face during the coronavirus pandemic. Failing to comply with court-ordered custody agreements can invite legal trouble. This is especially true if the purported concerns about COVID-19 turn out to be mostly exaggerated.

However, coronavirus poses serious health risks that are sometimes a matter of life or death. A parent who is legitimately worried about the health and safety of their child may have good reason to not comply with a custody agreement. However, proving this to the court is another thing altogether. If you are experiencing these worries or issues, the best thing to do is contact a family law attorney for guidance.

Need Help With Your Custody Battle? Contact a Trusted San Jose Family Law Attorney

Coronavirus has already turned everyday life on its head. The last thing anyone wants is for COVID-19 to also have a negative effect on children in custody battles. However, if you have legitimate concerns, or are facing unnecessary pushback on your custody agreement, you may need a San Jose family law attorney to intervene. To get the help you need, schedule your free consultation at (408) 404-8656.

What You Need to Know About California Child Relocation Laws

January 30, 2020

Child custody is a complex area of family law. While the court considers the needs of the child above all else, there are many factors that affect the child’s needs and best interests. If you plan on relocating with your minor child when you and the other parent are not together, it is important to familiarize yourself with California child relocation laws. You may also want to discuss your situation with our San Jose family law firm.

California’s Custody Relocation Statute

California child relocation laws are covered under California Family Code Section 7501. This short statute is straightforward but is broad enough for judicial interpretation and discretion. Under this law, a parent with primary physical custody can move with the minor child if they have:

  • The other parent’s agreement
  • Court order

The court is generally likely to allow a parent to move away with their children if they are the primary parent. In these situations, the burden of proof is on the non-custodial parent to prove that the move would harm the child. Joint custody agreements are more complicated.

How Far Can You Move When You Have Joint Custody?

There is no set distance that you can move without triggering a move-away case in California. Any move that would disrupt the current custody arrangement requires consent or court order.

Per the Judicial Branch of California, the burden of proof switches when parents share joint custody. If one parent wants to move and one parent disputes the move, the parent initiating the move must demonstrate that the change in parenting plan is in the best interests of the child.

Moving Out of State If There Is No Custody Agreement in Place

If there is no custody order in place, there is technically nothing preventing a parent from moving out of state with their minor child. However, it may not be in your best interests to move without getting a visitation schedule in place and securing a court order allowing the move. If you move and the other parent files for custody, the court may order you to return to California with your child.

Why You Need a San Jose Child Custody Attorney If You Plan on Moving

Whether you are interested in moving away with your child or you worry that the other parent wants to move away, it is important to hire a family attorney in San Jose. If the other parent has an attorney, you are unlikely to fairly represent yourself if your case goes to court.

With the help of our San Jose family law firm, you can prove that your arrangements meet the child’s needs and serve their best interests. Your attorney may help you secure the paperwork you need to prove that you have:

  • Proper living arrangements
  • Proposed custody and holiday schedule
  • Social support needed for the move

A lawyer can also anticipate the other side’s arguments and come up with counter-arguments to support your suggested plan. Explore your options now and call us at (408) 404-8656 to schedule a consultation.

Additional Reading:

Four Tips for Long Distance Co-Parenting

September 15, 2019

Going through a divorce and subsequent child custody battle is difficult enough. Long distance co-parenting can feel even harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate long distance co-parenting with relative ease:

Tip: Create a Detailed Schedule

The first step you can take toward organized, long distance co-parenting is to create a detailed schedule. Understand that you might not always be able to attend your child’s soccer game or piano recital, but you will be able to share the important moments.

Initially, you will want to create a solid schedule of visitation time. Maybe once a month or — if the distance is greater — once every three or four months. Determine which holidays will be shared between parents and who will travel each time.

It is important to consider more than in-person visitation periods when designing your schedule. Make a note of important milestones in your child’s life and be sure to reach out as they pass. Birthdays and holidays should not go unnoticed, and you should attempt to contact your child weekly. 

Tip: Use Technology to Your Advantage

There are many ways to communicate with your child outside of a traditional phone call. You can also video chat with Skype or Facebook Messenger, send pictures with Snapchat, or play games together. Some games played on your phone, like Hayday, allow you to interact with your child regularly in a kid-friendly environment.

When it comes to important school projects and homework, you can use Google Drive to check and discuss your child’s progress. Family pictures can be stored and shared through the cloud. Long distance families have this technological leg-up over previous generations, so take advantage. 

Tip: Communicate

Perhaps the most important step of the process is developing a strong line of communication, both between yourself and your child and — if possible — between yourself and your ex-spouse. Divorce can be complicated, but the friendlier the communication between you and your ex-spouse, the better for your child’s emotional well-being.

There will inevitably be times when your visits do not go as planned. For example, your child may be sick and cannot see you, or maybe you have to work and cannot make the trip yourself. In these situations, it is imperative that you communicate openly and do not project your frustrations onto your child.

Tip: Consider Unique Arrangements

When both ex-spouses live nearby, children often spend every other weekend (or every other week) with each parent. But for parents that live in different states, this may be impossible. 

One parent will, for the sake of ease, be the primary caregiver. The child will attend school in their state and have a room in their house. You can arrange for one parent to have their child during summer break and holidays — but, as your child grows, this arrangement may become more difficult.

Remember that your family does not have to fit any “normal” expectations. Let your schedule adapt to your needs by evaluating your schedule on a case-by-case basis. If you need assistance in making these decisions, our San Jose family law lawyer can help.

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Assistance

Long distance co-parenting may seem impossible at first. However, with the right assistance and a strong family dynamic, these relationships can thrive. For professional advice, contact our team at the Law Offices of Thomas Nicholas Cvietkovich by calling (408) 404-8656. You can also fill out our online contact form.