Do I Have to Let the Other Parent See the Kids During Quarantine?
If you are under quarantine or shelter-in-place orders in Kentucky, you may find it difficult to maintain your current child custody arrangement. Furthermore, you may be wondering which laws to follow: the child custody laws or the current quarantine mandate. The situation can be more challenging if you are dealing with an ex-spouse who isn’t flexible with your parental agreement.
Some situations may put you in a position to choose the child’s welfare over the wishes of the other parent or the courts. How you handle the situation, however, will determine whether the outcome is favorable or harmful to your parental rights. Let’s take a closer look at your legal parental obligations in view of the current quarantine.
At the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates, we can help you understand the details. We are available to serve the needs of clients in Shepherdsville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, Louisville, and Radcliff, Kentucky.
Kentucky Supreme Court Orders
In March, the Kentucky Supreme Court instructed parents to adhere to all custody and parenting time orders. You may make a request to the courts to temporarily suspend or modify the order if your request is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the courts are currently closed, making it difficult to expedite your request.
Furthermore, you must have a valid pandemic-related reason for requesting the suspension. Your request must be accompanied by verifiable evidence that leaves no question as to why you should not honor your orders. Failure to do so could put you in contempt of court, and cause you to lose full or partial custody of your child.
Possible Exceptions to Kentucky Child Custody Orders
At this time, the Kentucky Courts have not made any specific provisions for exceptions to child custody orders. Therefore, citing health concerns for your child may not hold up in court. With that in mind, there are some possibly valid reasons why withholding your child is allowable including:
The Child or Other Parent May Be High Risk for COVID-19
Due to certain medical or health conditions, the child or other parent may be at high risk for COVID-19. Therefore, transporting the child from house to house could expose them to the virus. You may need to provide medical reports and other documents to support why you withheld your child from the other parent or refused to take the child.
The Child or Other Parent May Have Contracted COVID-19
If you suspect that your child or the other parent may have contracted COVID-19, you may have the right to keep them at your home. Documented cases of COVID-19 are easy to prove. However, if you are acting on suspicion you may have a difficult time defending your decision.
Irresponsible or Dangerous Parental Behavior
By now, nearly every person in Kentucky is aware of the quarantine and the dangers of socializing in public. However, not everyone is acting responsibly, thus increasing the risk of spreading the virus. If you have reason to believe that the other parent is acting irresponsibly and exposing your child to COVID-19, you may have cause to withhold them. However, you will need to present evidence if you want the court to support your actions.
Consult a Family Lawyer Before You Act
Regardless of your reason for violating your child custody agreement, your decision and subsequent actions may not hold up in court. So, before you make a decision regarding your child’s welfare or child custody agreement, you may want to consult a family law lawyer in Louisville, Kentucky.
Our firm can advise you on whether to withhold your child or the right steps to take if you need to break the agreement. We can also prepare a good defense of your actions if they lead to a dispute that ends up in court. To find out more about your legal options, call the Law Offices of John Schmidt & Associates. We can help you navigate the legal system and seek a favorable solution.
We are proud to provide legal services in Louisville, Elizabethtown, Jeffersontown, Mount Washington, and Radcliff, Kentucky.