This year has been challenging under the best of circumstances. Since Governor DeSantis placed Florida in a state of emergency on March 9, 2020, non-essential businesses and courts across the state shut down. As of September 14, 2020, Florida has had more than 662,000 cases of Coronavirus and more than 12,000 deaths. Due to the pandemic, Florida's unemployment rate rose to 11.3%. As a result, Florida families face the stress compounded by custody and visitation struggles or financial difficulties after a job loss.
If you're navigating child custody and visitation during the pandemic, you may need to be flexible.
Follow Court Orders
You should follow your court-ordered visitation schedule unless you and your partner agree to adjust it. If you and your partner can't agree on a change, you need to follow your original order. Consider you and your partner's homes to be part of the same quarantine bubble. As long as everyone in your family stays healthy, a court will enforce your custody and visitation order.
Make a Plan
You and your partner should discuss a plan if one of you gets sick, or the kids end up at home learning virtually. You won't want to make last-minute arrangements if you're sick.
Use Practical Solutions
Try to be flexible. If one of you can't have the kids for two weeks because of exposure to COVID-19, adjust the schedule, and agree to let your co-parent have some catch-up time. If school closes down again and the kids need daycare while you both work, can you split the cost? Can one of you work from home and supervise virtual school? Consider all the possible scenarios for the new school year.
You and your ex-partner need to keep the lines of communication open. You both want the best for your children. The best thing you can do for them when difficult situations pop up is to remain flexible and keep talking about practical solutions.
With sky-high unemployment rates in Florida, the pandemic is causing financial problems for many families. If you or your ex are facing a job loss, income reduction, or furlough, try to be flexible. If you are the support payor, you should file for a modification for child support in family court as soon as possible.
Remember, whether you are the payor or the recipient, the court will undoubtedly reduce support payments after a job loss. If you lose your job and your ex-partner relies on child or spousal support, let them know right away. Remain respectful and supportive at all times because your texts or emails may be admissible in court.
The pandemic is stressful for many families, but we can help if you face a tricky family law situation. At Veliz Katz Law, we work hard to give our clients support and the legal services they need during these turbulent times.