Impact of COVID-19 Virus on Child Custody in Pennsylvania – By a Bucks County Child Custody Lawyer

The current COVID-19 pandemic has created much uncertainty in virtually all aspects of our daily lives.  From school closings, to being required to work from home, to the closure of your favorite restaurants, the next few weeks of life in Bucks, Montgomery, Chester, and all other counties of Pennsylvania may look drastically different than what we are used to. 

One major concern is what impact the virus may have on Child Custody in Pennsylvania.  While the Court is faced with adapting to this evolving situation, it is unlikely that the process will be as smooth as we would like it to be.  Although it is currently a developing situation, it is important to keep in mind that the best interests of your child is the chief consideration for determining Child Custody.  Not having your child exposed to such a dangerous virus will certainly be difficult in co-parenting situations, especially when it is not your custodial time.  However, you must take any and all precautions to protect the safety and welfare of your child.  Reaching out to your co-parent is a great first step, especially given the recent directive from the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas, which may delay you getting a hearing before a Judge. 

Ongoing Communications Between Co-Parents Are Essential

Strong ongoing communications between co-parents are essential for ensuring your child’s safety.  If you have a belief that the other parent has been exposed to COVID-19, you should express this concern, in writing, immediately to him or her.  To err on the side of caution, you should request a doctor’s note from the other parent that states his or her condition and whether it is safe for him or her to be around your child.  Additionally, make sure to ask about the health of others living in his or her household, and whether they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19.  Keep in mind that if you have an existing Custody Order, you are required to follow the Order; otherwise, you may be subjected to contempt of Court Order. 

What to Do If You Are Concerned a Co-Parent Has COVID-19 in PA Child Custody Cases

If there is a concern a parent has COVID-19, you should notify him or her immediately and attempt to make the best decision for your child by agreement.  If they are unresponsive or unwilling to effectively co-parent (by placing their needs and priorities before those of the child’s) please contact our office immediately.  An emergency petition can be filed, asking for the Court’s intervention during such a stressful time.

To learn more about our legal services relating to child custody and other divorce and family law matters in Doylestown and Newtown-Yardley, Pennsylvania, please call us at (215) 968-1800 or contact us online.  We offer evening and weekend appointments for your convenience, as well as telephone consultations if you live far away from our office.  We also communicate with our clients via e-mail and respond immediately to all of your questions, needs, and concerns.

We look forward to hearing from you and helping you.  Be safe and healthy.