Child Custody and Visitation During the Coronavirus

By Attorney Christopher Heberg

It is imperative that pre-existing Court orders, relative to Custody, Visitation and Placement are complied with during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can be quite confident that the courts are already keen to people who will try to use the current crisis as an excuse to deny visits. Personally, I’ve already had several clients contact me inquiring whether they can deny access to the other parent during this time. I have told them that I expect Court’s to come down quite hard on people who do not allow access to the other party during this crisis.

I can assure you that the judge’s fully expect people to use COVID-19 as an excuse to deny access.

If you deny access you will have to have very specific and viable reason to do so. You need to be able to provide very specific factual proof as to why your case is unique and the other parent should be denied the ability to see their child. Keep in mind the courts are required by law to maintain ongoing parent child relationships. It can be argued that during times like these it is even more critical that children maintain some sense of normality and therefore visitation will most likely be strongly favored by a judge.

If you deny access and do not have a real palpable reason for doing so you should be prepared to suffer the consequences when Court’s resume as normal.

If you are being denied access, or normal visitation time with your child but do not have a current Court Order, than I believe it is a very good time to file an action with the RI Family Court. Courts are going to resume normal operation soon and being able to point to the recent past, where the other parent failed to facilitate an ongoing relationship with your children, will most likely be beneficial to your case. When considering Custody one of the key elements a court must consider is the willingness of both parent to facilitate an ongoing and loving relationship between the other parent and their children. If they fail to do this during the Coronavirus, it will most likely be at their peril.

If we can do anything to assist you, or you feel like you need to discuss a particular issue relative to your case, please contact our office for a free consultation – and stay healthy.