How COVID-19 Is Changing Child Custody (and What Parents Can Do About It)

Child custody is rapidly becoming one of the lynchpin legal issues of coronavirus, as stay-at-home orders make it increasingly difficult for parents to successfully maintain their child custody arrangements.

At Akbarian Law, Anie Akbarian has over 22 years of experience helping clients navigate divorce, child custody, and other family law issues. If you're experiencing child custody issues, Attorney Akbarian will work with you to develop a personalized legal strategy for your case. To receive your free consultation from our team, fill out the contact form on our website, or give us a call at (818) 247-9322

How Is COVID-19 Affecting Child Custody Cases?

Courts across the nation have stated that child custody arrangements are not affected by COVID-19 and that parents should continue following the boundaries of their established custody agreements. However, most courts are sympathetic to modifying custody orders during this time—sometimes, excessively so. 

The New York Times recently released an article detailing how COVID-19 is affecting child custody cases across the country. The Times featured stories of people such as Dr. Bertha Mayorquin, whose husband successfully obtained a court order for sole custody of his and Dr. Mayorquind's children. Dr. Mayorquin's husband convinced a judge that, because Dr. Mayorquin was at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 through her work, their children shouldn't be in contact with her. The judge agreed and filed an order stating Dr. Mayorquin's husband should receive full custody until the COVID-19 pandemic subsided. Dr. Mayorquin was able to get the order revoked, but only after she made an arrangement with her hospital to work remotely for the duration of the pandemic. 

Across the US, parents who are considered "essential workers" who may be exposed to COVID-19 at their work, such as grocery workers, warehouse employees, nurses, and doctors, find themselves in similar situations. 

Ideally, parents should work together during this time to ensure their children are kept safe and minimize the risk of either parent or the children contracting coronavirus. Following CDC recommendations for hygiene is vital, especially in cases where either parent or their children are at high risk of contracting the virus or have complicating factors such as an autoimmune disorder that could make a potential infection more severe. 

Unfortunately, many custodial parents are taking advantage of the virus to deprive noncustodial parents of time with their children. Others are taking advantage of how sensitive courts may be to the pandemic to hastily file custody modification orders under the pretense that their ex is an essential worker or is at risk of the virus and jeopardizing the health of their children. 

If your ex is trying to take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to modify or otherwise significantly change your child custody arrangement, it's important to know there are legal actions you can take to address the situation. 

Akbarian Law Will Help You Navigate Custody Issues

A major issue for many parents at this time is that most local courts are closed. However, it's still possible to handle child custody matters at this time. If your ex is taking advantage of the pandemic to jeopardize your relationship with your children, here are a few ways we'll help you out:

  • We can file documents and secure emergency orders for you to ensure you have a child custody hearing when courts re-open. It's important to take these steps as quickly as possible, since most courts already have a backlog of cases developing. Filing documents and an emergency order now will help you secure a court date in the near future. 

  • If your court is offering remote hearings and casework, we can help you arrange and prepare for a remote hearing. Many courts are offering remote hearings for issues like child custody cases. We can help you figure out if your county court is offering remote hearings and, if they are, we can help you file the necessary documents and take the proper precautions for a hearing. 

  • We can handle your case remotely. At this time, Akbarian Law remains open for business. We can file for divorce, legal separation, custody modifications, as standard operations continue remotely at this time.

Don't let your ex take advantage of this pandemic to modify your custody arrangement and harm your relationship with your children. Contact us online or via phone at (818) 247-9322 for a free consultation, so we can help you take control of your child custody arrangement.