When you are sharing custody of your child with their other parent (called timesharing in Florida), you should be following the schedule set out in your parenting plan. It can be hard enough to communicate and work together to make the schedule work under regular circumstances, and it can become significantly more difficult during the stay-at-home orders in Florida due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following is some information about how the quarantine might be affecting your parenting plan and how you might need to adjust.
Staying on the Same Page
First, the quarantine was never intended to supersede any existing parenting plans or to be an excuse for one parent to withhold access to a child without proper reason. However, if a child is going back and forth between houses according to a parenting plan, both parents need to be open about how they are handling the situation and taking precautions to protect the child.
For example, you might have your groceries delivered to prevent store visits, ensure your child washes their hands regularly and properly, provide your child with a mask if you have to leave the house, ensure social distancing measures are practiced, and more to keep your household safe from exposure. If your child then goes to their other parent’s house and is allowed to play with neighbors, go into the convenience store without a mask, touch items without hand-washing supervision, and be near non-household members, all of your measures are negated.
It is important for parents who share a parenting plan to work together to stay on the same page regarding proper precautions against COVID-19 exposure.
When One Parent is an Essential Worker
In many cases, one parent may be considered an essential worker and might be regularly reporting to work. This can cause the following complications:
- Since children are out of school, having one parent work during the day can cause childcare issues when it is that parent’s time with the child.
- If the parent works in healthcare or another high exposure job, it can put the child at a greater risk of getting sick, as well as transmitting the coronavirus.
Parents should decide whether it is best for the child to remain in one household if one parent is an essential worker and the other is not.
If a Child is High-Risk
Parents might also need to adjust their parenting plan if the child is high-risk due to pre-existing medical conditions. In this case, discuss the best course of action with your child’s pediatrician and healthcare providers. It might be the case that you need to adjust your parenting plan and possibly keep your child in one household to keep them healthy. Visits might need to happen via FaceTime or similar apps until the risk subsides.
Seek Help from a Family Law Attorney in Brandon, Florida
Parenting plans can be impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown in many ways. If you have concerns about your situation, please do not hesitate to call our Brandon family lawyers at Carman & Bevington for help. Call 813-305-0631 or contact us online today.