COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in many aspects of daily life: school, work, social activities, and healthcare, to name a few. However, if you share custody of a child in Colorado, you may be wondering if COVID-19 can legally have any effect on your parental responsibilities arrangement.
Below are a few common questions we’ve received at the Drake Law Firm about child custody during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with answers from our knowledgeable child custody lawyers serving the Greater Denver area. Read on to learn more about how COVID-19 can and cannot affect your custody arrangement.
Can a Parent Withhold Parenting Time From the Other Parent Due to COVID-19?
Several parents have reached out to our law team over the past year and a half to seek clarity about how the pandemic might legally affect parenting time. They ask questions like:
- Is my child’s other parent allowed to keep my child longer due to the pandemic?
- Can my child’s other parent withhold my parenting time due to COVID-19?
Unfortunately, some parents have begun using the pandemic as an excuse to keep the shared child in their home longer than their custody arrangement would allow, fueling a custody battle. However, the courts have made it clear that the COVID-19 pandemic cannot impact previous parental responsibility arrangements in most circumstances.
Suppose your child’s other parent uses vague references to COVID-19 as an excuse to withhold your parenting time and, in effect, declare sole physical custody of your child. In that case, you may benefit from hiring a child custody attorney to help you take legal action.
How Do Stay-at-Home Orders Affect Parenting Time?
Governor Polis has issued several stay-at-home orders throughout the pandemic. While these orders have subsided for a time, they may go into effect again if COVID-19 cases continue to worsen with the rapid spread of the Delta variant.
Many parents with shared custody have wondered how stay-at-home orders might affect their parenting time and parental responsibilities. If the child is currently with one parent when the order begins, should they remain with that parent and violate their shared custody arrangements until the order ends?
However, Colorado courts generally permit individuals to leave home during stay-at-home orders if they must comply with court orders. Child custody is a court order, making it one of the few valid exceptions to stay-at-home orders. As a result, you should continue sharing physical custody of your child as usual during these orders.
No parent should refuse to uphold child visitation and parental arrangements due to stay-at-home orders. If the other parent in your parental responsibilities arrangement is withholding your court-ordered parenting time due to such orders, they may be putting their custody rights in jeopardy.
Do Parents Need To Continue Paying Child Support During COVID-19?
Many financial responsibilities have become more lenient during the pandemic. Financial institutions have pushed back loan payment deadlines, the IRS extended tax deadlines, and even private organizations have given their clients more time to pay their bills. As a result, some parents are wondering if these extensions include child support.
Colorado law states that parents must continue paying child support and upholding child support orders during the pandemic. Even so, if your child’s other parent is struggling to make child support payments, they may be able to apply for a modification through the court to change their required payment amount.
A judge would consider their financial circumstances to determine what, if any, modifications would be appropriate for your specific child support agreement.
How Does a Child or Parent Who Tests Positive for COVID-19 Affect Parental Responsibilities?
Some parents have wondered how their custody arrangement could change if the child or one of the parents were to test positive for COVID-19.
If the child has become exposed to COVID-19 within their current residence, they should follow quarantining procedures to limit the spread of the virus to outside parties. If the child or other parent in your parenting arrangement tests positive, they should remain in their current residence to quarantine even if doing so would violate your parental arrangement.
During this time, the current custodial parent should encourage the child to spend virtual time with the other parent through phone calls or video chats. Most quarantine situations last for two weeks or less, meaning that any adjustments to parental arrangements should only be temporary.
Let The Drake Law Firm, PC. Help You Protect Your Parental Rights During the Pandemic
As a parent with shared custody of a child in Colorado, maintaining parental rights and stability for your child is crucial. If you feel that the other parent in your custody arrangement fails to uphold your previously agreed-upon responsibilities, we can help.
At the Drake Law Firm, PC. our child custody lawyers have spent years helping parents create and maintain custody agreements to support the child’s best interests throughout the child’s life. Our child custody attorneys have received a 9.9 out of 10 AVVO rating with over 30 Google reviews, allowing you to feel confident in our commitment and dedication to your case.
If you’re looking for a “family lawyer near me,” we can help. For more information about our child custody cases, contact our team at The Drake Law Firm, PC, today at (303) 261-8111. We have offices in Golden and Greenwood Village, CO.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.