With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing so do the complications imposed upon our daily lives. While we all wish we could “go back to normal” we are not there yet. The impact of the pandemic has added unique complications to many issues of family law and The Durst Firm has been busy dealing with those issues for our clients.
Parenting time is one area that has been greatly affected. Perhaps one parent works on the frontlines of the pandemic as a health care worker or a police officer. These jobs put that parent at greater risk to catch COVID and thereby potentially the children, family member, and strangers to the virus. The other parent may be genuinely concerned. As are the courts.
As we enter the Fall, it is becoming clear that holiday activities and parenting time will also be impacted. Should your child go trick or treating assuming it is allowed in your locale? What about the traditional family gatherings? A few points to consider.
First, address these concerns NOW. The courts are open but backlogged. Any motions that are filed will take time to resolve. Also, courts are reluctant to decided holiday parenting time issues on an emergent basis by way of an order show cause.
Second, consider your travel requirements. NJ has been vigilant in identifying those states that present an elevated risk. Should you take your child to such a state? What about quarantine requirements? The guidelines are to quarantine for 14 days after travelling to a state on the list. Can you meet this guideline?
Third, whether you and the children are travelling or remaining at home, will you be exposed to extended family members, relatives, and friends. Are any of them coming from a state on the quarantine list? how do you know that your guests are healthy and have been following the best practices to stay healthy? Are you taking any measure to safeguard the children from the risks associated with group settings?
There are no easy answers to these questions and both parents should be diligent in their safeguarding the children and themselves. Flexibility is also warranted in these trying times. If you have concerns over the upcoming holidays and parenting time contact The Durst Firm to see how we can help.