Child Custody and Visitation and the COVID-19 Pandemic
More than two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many divorced parents continue to juggle challenges of handling the special visitation and custody issues that can arise during a major public health event. These include deciding whether to vaccinate a child, altering a custody arrangement due to health concerns and dealing with homeschooling and other aspects of parenting time.
One issue that started during the pandemic and has continued to gain traction is moving children into homeschooling programs. More than one homeschooling program in Pennsylvania has reported a spike in participation due to the pandemic. For divorced parents, the choice to switch to homeschooling may be contentious, especially if the parents have different outlooks on education.
When parents cannot agree on whether to switch a child’s school, they must turn to the courts to resolve the impasse. In the meanwhile, the status quo should be maintained. Judges in Pennsylvania make such determinations on a case-by-case basis. Parents will need to provide evidence of why a switch to homeschooling or another program will be in the child’s best interests. While parents may cite the pandemic and its disruption to public schools and other traditional programs as a reason, courts will generally want additional evidence to highlight why such a switch is beneficial to a child.
For many parents, the switch to remote and work-from-home arrangements has also prompted a desire to alter schedules. Parents who are now permanently working remotely may wish to request an adjustment to custody. No longer having to commute or to be in an office might enable them to be more present for their child. In cases where one parent now works remotely and the other continues to go into the office, co-parents may wish to work out new arrangements that can benefit themselves and their children.
If you need to make changes to custody and/or visitation arrangements as a result of COVID, you’ll want the help of experienced attorneys. A legal team that is knowledgeable in family law can help you build a strong, evidence-backed case for why changes are necessary and in the best interests of your child.
The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney, P.C. in Yardley, Pennsylvania can help you with all child custody issues, including modification of existing arrangements. Please call our office at 215.493.3360 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.