COVID 19 has put us in an unprecedented situation that our generation has never known. In a matter of weeks, we went from hearing about a terrible virus that was shutting down other parts of the world, to living it ourselves. At the beginning of May 2020, North Carolina alone has had over 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID 19 and hundreds of people have died.
Our liberties have been suspended or limited for the sake of saving lives. Many people have lost their jobs while others must work from home. Many overwhelmed parents are juggling their work while serving as their children’s school teachers. Access to resources seems limited, and all of this comes in addition to the isolation.
Although we are living through a shared experience, it is simultaneously a very lonely one. There is social distancing and staying at home for weeks on end. While technology allows us the chance to see and speak to one another, it simply isn’t the same as socializing in person. In these uncertain times, our children need us and we need them.
Talking With Your Child
Your children will remember these times. They are not going to school, cannot play with other children at playgrounds, cannot see their grandparents, and cannot be with their friends. It is important as a parent to acknowledge that you and your children are in new and challenging circumstances.
We are all struggling right now. Talk with your children about how you are struggling, why you are struggling, and what you are trying to do to cope. Hiding your own emotions may inadvertently show your children that they need to put on a mask. Instead, initiate conversations and allow them to share.
If your children have questions and fears, make sure that you are present and resourceful in how to address them. There have been numerous age-appropriate PSA’s and YouTube videos created specifically to answer children’s questions about COVID 19.
If you are a noncustodial parent with visitation rights, you have probably had many questions about visitation during the COVID 19 crisis. Finding a balance between safety and visitation rights in these uncertain times has proven to be challenging for many parents.
- Is it safe for physical parent-child visits to happen? Aren’t stay-at-home orders meant to mitigate the spread of the virus?
- Are parents even allowed to leave the house to exercise visitation?
- Are child custody orders enforceable right now?
First, the Governor’s stay at home order lists travels for child visitation as an essential activity. Second, if you have a child custody order, then it is still valid and should be followed as a court order. Whether you and the other parent are comfortable with the current order is a completely different issue and parents can certainly agree to alternative arrangements—like postponing physical visits and extending virtual contact.
Notably, most family law hearings have been continued or postponed at least until the end of May, which means that a parent trying to enforce a custody order will have to wait to get before a court. Instead of waiting, we encourage parents to reach creative and practical agreements regarding child custody. If you need a lawyer, we can help facilitate virtual mediation between parents.
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law provides top-quality family law representation to men and women in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Our highly regarded attorneys have a proven record and will work tirelessly to preserve the parental rights of our clients. If you need help enforcing or modifying a child custody order, contact us today. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to schedule an appointment or visit us online at our website.