As the United States works to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, parents across the nation are wondering how the novel coronavirus will affect their child custody and parenting time arrangements. What if one parent is in a high risk category for contracting the virus? Or worse, what if a parent tests positive?
On March 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued an order providing guidance regarding custody and parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the order, the Supreme Court held that any existing court order establishing a person’s access to and possession of a child shall control with limited exceptions.
The Court’s order also temporarily modifies any existing court order concerning physical access and/or possession of a minor child for fourteen (14) days if a party to the order:
(1) tests positive for COVID-19 or shares a household with someone who has;
(2) has been told that he or she or a member of their household has possibly been exposed to COVID-19; or,
(3) has, within the last fourteen (14) days, traveled to an area with has been designated by the CDC as being under a Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice.
Importantly, the recent order also requires that parties sharing custody and/or access to a child immediately notify other parties upon discovery of any of the above-listed circumstances (i.e., a positive test result, possible exposure, or travel). A notification would trigger the referenced temporary suspension of physical access and/or possession of the child would come into effect
While this order may severely restrict parenting time, it also allows for liberal communication between any affected parent and their child or children. The Supreme Court was also clear that nothing in its order should be construed to limit parents from altering or amending existing custody or parenting time orders by agreement or from preventing a lower court from modifying existing orders on an emergency basis or otherwise. The Supreme Court’s order is effective through Friday, April 24, 2020, unless extended by the Court.
#Family Law Attorney #COVID-19