COVID-19 and the corresponding orders have altered normal day to day life. If you are confused or unsatisfied with your child visitation schedule amid COVID-19 we are here to help. Scroggins Law Group, PLLC is staffed with attorneys who are experts in family law matters and experienced in the legal issues surrounding child visitation and possession and access schedules. If you need help with your child custody or modification, we are here to guide you through the process.
Parenting during COVID-19 looks a little different than parenting before the shelter in place and stay at home orders. With schools shut down and many parents navigating online classrooms and homeschooling for the first time, tensions inside the home may be running high. Parents and children are both trying to adjust to their new routines. Change, no matter what kind, often brings stress and worry with it. This can be even more true for children who feel like they have no control over their situation and may not understand what is going on. They will look to their parents for guidance and as an example of how to act when their daily life is completely disrupted, and nothing in their world seems the same. In addition to changes in parenting, many parents are also trying to navigate working from home while juggling their kids and pets on top of their normal household responsibilities, and managing other distractions that are not present in their normal daily work life. Some parents may even be dealing with the loss of a job or a cut in their income. This new normal requires lots of planning and the ability to be flexible while trying to balance everything.
The Texas Supreme Court issued an Emergency Order regarding COVID-19 and possession and access on March 17, 2020. The purpose of the order was to give some clarification about existing possession and access schedules in Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship and how they are affected by COVID-19. The order issued by the supreme court stated that possession and access to a child should stick to the originally published school schedule and that possession and access shall not be affected by the school’s closure that arises as a result of an epidemic or pandemic, including COVID-19. Many counties such as Collin County and Dallas County have issued similar orders regarding possession and access following the order issued by the Texas Supreme Court.
The orders issued regarding possession and access all maintain that the original court orders and possession schedules are not altered by the shelter in place orders. Conservators shall still pick up and deliver the child(ren) according to the court order, as this is considered an essential activity. Some emergency orders added paragraphs stating that if a conservator or child has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19 they shall notify the other conservators of the exposure or diagnosis.
While the shelter in place orders alone do not change existing possession and access schedules, some factors may affect possession and access to a child. These factors include things like what is in the child’s best interest, the needs, and the health of the child, as well as a parent’s ability to care for a child. Conservators may alter a possession schedule by agreement, but often it can be difficult to reach that agreement. If you need your possession schedule altered but cannot come to an agreement with the other conservator, we are here to help. The attorneys at Scroggins Law Group, PLLC are happy to talk with you and discuss the options available to you regarding a modification of your current possession and access schedule.