A new normal in parenting is here for the foreseeable future with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic affecting the entire world. While parents are doing their best to keep things as “normal” as possible for their children, parents living in separate households may be having a more difficult time than most to keep a status quo for their children that offers a sense of consistency and continuity, especially with parents needing to homeschool and care for their children on a day-to-day basis in a way that most have never had to do before. Many parents are reaching out to Tallahassee custody lawyers to discuss the status of their parenting plans during the COVID-19 pandemic and whether they still have to abide by its terms.
Ultimately, the best interests of children are always at the forefront of parents’ minds, along with the Court, and it can be difficult to determine what is actually in a child’s best interests in such uncertain times. In the Second Judicial Circuit, a Standing Order has been entered by the Chief Judge, instructing parents to essentially do their best to keep the status quo for their children, and continue abiding by a parenting plan if one is currently in place. However, there may be circumstances in which following the parenting plan may not be found to be in the child’s best interests. For example, a South Florida judge ruled that it was in a child’s best interest to temporarily suspend the child’s mother’s timesharing during the pandemic, because she is an ER doctor treating COVID-19 patients, and therefore, she has an increased risk of carrying and spreading the virus to her child. That case is currently being appealed, but with so many jobs being considered “essential” and so many parents having to go to work at places where they are susceptible to the public at a higher risk for contracting the virus, there may be more cases like the above-mentioned South Florida ER doctor case coming in the near-future. If you’re looking for a Tallahassee custody lawyer and have questions about co-parenting during the pandemic, please consult us at the Law Office of Matt Liebenhaut.
Another aspect of co-parenting during the pandemic is the payment of child support. Child support is considered to be the right of the child, but during these times of employment uncertainty, many parents are wondering how the coronavirus affects child support and whether their child support obligation still stands. Although every case and every situation is unique, for the most part, unless child support has been modified by a court order showing that a substantial change in circumstances has occurred, your child support obligation would still be in effect. If you’ve been laid-off due to the coronavirus and you’re wondering, “do I still have to pay child support during the pandemic?” please contact a Tallahassee child custody lawyer at the Law Office of Matt Liebenhaut to discuss your options.