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Custody in the World of Coronavirus

Custody5

In the most routine of times, figuring out the best child custody arrangement for your family can be tricky. The Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania reported that Pennsylvanians filed 46,091 new child custody cases in 2018. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, there are a lot of questions that separated and divorced parents have about custody and how to keep the children both physically and emotionally safe. If you are trying to figure out how to implement your child custody order or how to  modify it because of COVID-19, you need to talk to a qualified Pittsburgh family attorney.

Does Our Current Custody Order Still Apply? 

According to the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania, all custody orders remain in effect and should be followed during the pandemic. While the kids are home from school, the school-time custody schedule should still be in effect until summer time. For the foreseeable future, all future filings for child custody complaints or modifications have been suspended. However, there are extenuating circumstances right now and the best first step is to work with the other parent to make modifications that best work for the family.

Special Considerations That Might Mean Modifying Your Child Custody Order 

There are some reasons for modifying a child custody order including:

  • With the kids at home from school, one parent may be better suited to handle the additional responsibilities including homeschooling;
  • If one parent is a health-care worker, first responder or otherwise more likely to be exposed to coronavirus, it may make sense to limit their exposure to the children during this time;
  • If both parties live far apart and the transfer of children between two homes is exposing the children. For instance, it may not be feasible for children to be flying between states at the moment;

How to Modify A Custody Order During Coronavirus

During this time, it is critical you take into account your family’s health and wellbeing. Consider where your children will be at the lowest risk of getting sick. This means looking at which household has less exposure and, if you live in a different city, it may mean looking at the preparedness of the healthcare system in both communities. Your children are likely experiencing some of the stresses of coronavirus and it is important to minimize any additional stress that a custody modification may cause. This means explaining the reasoning behind your decisions where feasible, and providing an opportunity for them to spend more time with the other parent in the future when it is safe again. 

Contact a Bunde & Roberts Attorney Today 

Making changes to a parenting plan during the coronavirus can be overwhelming because of all the uncertainty involved. We do not know when schools will go back into session, when it will be safe to travel again, and who in our families may get sick. If you are considering a modification to the  custody order you currently have in place and want guidance from a knowledgeable Pennsylvania custody attorney, contact the Pittsburgh law offices of Bunde & Roberts at 412-391-4330.

Resources:

pacourts.us/news-and-statistics/research-and-statistics/dashboard-table-of-contents/custody-and-divorce-caseload

alleghenycourts.us/family/childrens_court/child_custody/default.aspx

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