Answers to Your Questions
With schools shutting down, businesses closing or requiring employees to work remotely, and events being canceled, it is reasonable to ask, do I have to send my child to visit with the other parent?
The Child’s Best Interests Come First
Ideally, the parents are going to work together and do what is best for your child. The best interests of your child should be a paramount consideration. But what if the parents cannot work together?
If you have a court order or parenting plan, it specifies when the child will visit with the other parent.
Failure to comply with a parenting plan would be considered contempt of court. Contempt arises when one parent chooses to disobey a court order. Contempt can be punished by fees, attorney’s fees or even jail time.
A defense to contempt, however, can arise when a parent has reasonable, genuine concerns for their child’s safety. A judge would be reluctant to hold a parent in contempt for refusing to send their child for visitation where the child will be placed in danger.
Be Reasonable and Be Safe
A degree of reasonableness should be exercised when you make a decision. If the child is going to visit his father on the other side of Cherokee County, and you have no reason to believe your child or the other parent has symptoms of coronavirus, you should comply with the parenting plan.
If you are the non-custodial parent who is looking to exercise your parenting time, it is reasonable to give the other parent assurances you will limit the child’s exposure to the public.
While parents who are separated or divorced often can’t trust the other parent, taking actions to provide a little additional assurance during this time will ease everyone’s fears.
If however, you have to place your child on a flight to fly half-way across the country to visit with her mother during spring break, it is reasonable to ask the mother to forfeit her spring break visitation and instead, take an extra week during the child’s summer break from school. The CDC has established guidelines to help parents make a decision in these circumstances.
Help is Available to Answer Your Questions
While we all navigate these challenging times, Speights Law is open and able to assist our clients. If you have questions about your child custody or visitation, please call our office at (770) 479-1500 for a free consultation.
Amanda Speights is a co-founder and lead family law attorney at Speights Law, PC in Cherokee County. She is an experienced family law lawyer who handles an assortment of domestic cases, including divorce, child custody, child support, appeals and other types of litigation in the state of Georgia. To contact Amanda, please visit our contact page.