When co-parents plan for the time they’ll spend with their children, they typically don’t think of the unexpected. Sometimes global events beyond our control change things very quickly, and it leaves parents wondering: What does Texas family law say about visitation during coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Being With Your Child Is an Essential Activity
Many Texas shelter-in-place orders specifically allow traveling to exchange your children. It’s an essential activity. You’re not violating an order to stay at home if you’re dropping off or picking up your child following a court order related to possession of and access (often called visitation).
Generally, you and your co-parent should stick with your schedule. But, what if you’re worried the other parent may have been exposed to COVID-19? Like anything else, keeping a child from the other parent comes with risks. You could get in trouble with the court for doing it without a valid reason.
If you choose to keep a child with you instead of sending him or her to spend time with the other parent, it’s a good idea to document your reasoning and keep any evidence that could be applicable, just in case. Each situation is different, so talk with your lawyer about what’s best for you.
Co-Parenting Is Key During Difficult Times
As long as your court orders say it’s okay, you and the other parent are free to agree to the possession and exchange methods that work best for your family. So, if you and your co-parent are willing to work together, it could be a good idea to plan for what to do:
- Agree to follow social distancing guidelines and CDC recommendations
- Talk specifically about what behaviors to enforce, like washing hands or wiping down the outsides of takeout boxes and groceries before bringing them into the home
- Decide what to do if a parent knows they have been exposed to coronavirus
- Decide what to do if one parent or both parents get sick
- Discuss how to protect other people in the child’s life, like the elderly and people who are immunocompromised
- Discuss what do to in the event of school activity and summer camp cancellations
If you both respectfully agree to follow the same behaviors in your homes, and if you have a plan in place, you’ll be well prepared to work together to be the best parents you can be during a difficult time.
Talk With an Attorney About Visitation and Your Rights
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Courts, families and their attorneys have to make decisions based on the law, common sense and a shared goal of protecting families.
If you’re worried about your access to your child or your child’s safety, talk with the lawyers at the Schneider Law Firm, P.C., by calling 817-799-7125 or send us a message. Consultations with our attorneys are confidential.