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Co-Parenting Through Coronavirus

Posted by Joseph Lento | Apr 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

We have all had to adapt to new ways of living life in America during this COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are now ordering their groceries online and driving to a designated parking spot to have them delivered out to their car. Churches and synagogues are holding services by teleconferences. So-called gym rats are either finding online workout classes or are finding creative ways to lift weights at home. Some folks are even looking up YouTube tutorials on how to cut their own hair.

While the coronavirus is showing that Americans can get creative when it comes to adjusting to sheltering in place, divorced couples are finding it is a mixed bag now when it comes to co-parenting their children. How a couple decides to co-parent varies wildly, and it is most definitely challenging during these challenging times.

Some parents are taking advantage of the situation and preventing their children from spending time with their other parent—blatantly ignoring the terms of their custody agreement, while other couples have decided that it might be better to set aside their differences and live together again for the duration of the pandemic so that they can both have time with their children. Many couples have decided to enact temporary arrangements because one parent may work in an essential job and does not want to expose the children to anything.

Courts Closed

If your ex-spouse has decided to withhold the children from seeing you, unfortunately, this is not an ideal time to try to seek recourse from the court. Even if your ex-partner is willfully violating your co-parenting custody arrangement, the courts are largely not hearing any cases outside of emergency hearings or cases requiring extraordinary relief, and this may not qualify as an emergency.

What you can do is to try and work it out with your former partner. Set aside any past grievances and communicate with them what is important to you and what is in the best interests of the children. If you can come up with a temporary agreement, you should then document it in writing (either in an email, a series of text messages, or other correspondence).

If your children are currently with their other parent and that parent intends to keep them for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak, you might want to ask to have the children for an extended period of time when the worst is over. You could also ask to have daily time slots where you visit the kids via FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype.

If negotiations towards the prospect of a constructive resolution fail, in the alternative, a contempt petition can be drafted and filed detailing the concerns with the other parent's actions (or lack thereof) and how that is negatively impacting the children.  The contempt petition can be filed with the court and your attorney can try to have the court schedule either a phone or video hearing if possible. 

Compromising Is Key

The bottom line is that we are all living in unprecedented times, and there is no rulebook for how to live through a pandemic. Compromising with your ex-spouse is the best you can do so that you can continue to see (albeit maybe only via the internet) your children and maintain a relationship with them. If you are involved in a situation that will need immediate attention either now or once the Pennsylvania family courts are back open, contact Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686. Mr. Lento has the experience and compassion you need to navigate these unchartered legal waters.

About the Author

Joseph Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience advocating for his Family Law clients in courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, as well as New Jersey. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and protects their interests.

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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience practicing Family Law in Pennsylvania. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you and your family, contact our offices today. Family Law Attorney Joseph Lento will go above and beyond the needs for any client and fight for what is fair.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

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