When there are Texas school closures because of unforeseen circumstances such as Coronavirus (COVID-19) there are a number of factors that may impact child custody and visitation rights. During these turbulent times having a good relationship with the other parent can be helpful, but unfortunately many times this is not the case. If you have children subject to a court-ordered visitation schedule, you may be confused regarding when the exchange should occur if school closures continue for an extended period. Consulting with an experienced child custody attorney is a likely next step to make sure that your rights are protected.
So what do you need to know about child custody and visitation during Texas school closures:
- Comply to Your Visitation Agreement – do not try to reinvent your visitation agreement to where you may violate the rights of the other parent. The custody agreement or court order exists to prevent endless haggling over the details of timesharing. Many child custody agreements will have provisions that state that when schools are closed custody agreements will remain intact as if school was in session.
- Child Support Issues – there is a reason why you are not still with the other parent, but you need to put those issues aside for the benefit of your child. There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many, many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.
- Don’t Be Unreasonable – you should take advantage of these difficult times to show your child that you can co-parent and show your kids that when times are tough, both parents will step up and do the right thing. Do not use this as a situation to take advantage of the other parent. Instead, work towards a compromise that maybe both parties feel a little pain but agree on something with the best interest of their children in mind.
- Don’t Take Advantage of the Crisis – co-parenting is difficult, but it is important that you keep the lines of communication open. If you are using the crisis as a way to prevent the other parent from seeing their child because you are concerned for their health, this may get you in hot water with the courts once things get back to normal. Even though we are to practice ‘social distancing” this does not mean that you can prevent the other parent from having their visitation.
- Being Flexible – while some parents can easily work from home, others may not. When schools close and parents are made to work from home it is important to be flexible when you can watch the child even if it is outside of your normal visitation hours. If you are making the one parent do all the work then this may come back to hurt you in the eyes of the court if there are any future custody issues. If for whatever reason you or the other parent can not watch the child due to work, try to offer additional times to where you can make it up to the other parent who is handling the majority of the child care during school closings.
Do What is Best for the Child
When parents refuse to work together the child is the one who loses the majority of the time. Realize that this is an emergency situation that is temporary. Whatever you agree to do during school closure is not permanently changing your custody and parent-time orders. You may have to forfeit some parent-time in order to keep your children safe. You may have to temporarily let the other parent be the custodial parent and you have little or no parent-time. It is important that you realize that this is not permanent and things will get back to normal.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child custody during school closings please contact our experienced child custody attorneys for a free consultation.
Arlington (817) 522-4451
Dallas (972) 362-6848
Fort Worth (817) 764-1375
Plano (972) 354-4602
Cedar Hill (972) 338-9427
McKinney (469) 522-3688
Lewisville (972) 354-4605
Frisco (972) 725-7681
Grapevine (817) 835-8677
Irving (972) 354-4610
Keller (817) 204-0904
Garland (214) 572-2251
Denton (940) 222-4060
Addison (972) 564-8108
You can also contact us online by using our quick contact form.