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Myths about child custody and child support for dadsIt has been a commonly repeated idea for decades that women generally receive custody of children more frequently than men do. There are several reasons why this has been historically true. However, societal perceptions and state laws are both changing, and in most cases, these changes are to the benefit of the children. There is a significant amount of misinformation that persists when discussing the rights of fathers, and it is important to understand why some particularly pervasive myths are just that—myths.

Myth: Fathers Almost Never Get Custody

It depends on the applicable definition of “never,” but generally, this is untrue. The most recent available Census statistics show that fathers represent around one in five custodial parents—an improvement over the 16 percent of custodial parents reported in 1994. However, studies indicate that dads simply do not ask for custody as often as mothers do, and courts generally do not award what is not asked for in that regard.

A Massachusetts study examined 2,100 fathers who asked for custody and pushed aggressively to win it. Of those 2,100, 92 percent either received full or joint custody, with mothers receiving full custody only 7 percent of the time. Another study where 8 percent of fathers asked for custody showed that of that 8 percent, 79 percent received either sole or joint custody (in other words, approximately 6.3 percent of all fathers in the study). 

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Mental health tips for divorced dads“Challenging” doesn’t even begin to describe the past several months for millions of households across the country. If you have recently gone through a divorce, that alone can do a number on your mental health. Add in all of the changes and difficulties brought about by COVID-19, and you might be dealing with overwhelming amounts of stress, anxiety, fear, depression, and other issues. The following tips can help divorced fathers foster their mental health as they navigate the challenges of this difficult time.

Look into Your Options

Obtaining mental health services can make a big difference in difficult times.

  • Read the details of your insurance plan to see whether therapy, counseling, and other services are covered.
  • If you have Medicare, review your policy to see what is covered; for example, Medicare Part B covers a range of mental health services.
  • If you currently have no health insurance, see if any local colleges, clinics, or other institutions are providing free services.

Boost Your Physical Health

The state of your physical health plays a major role in your mental health and overall well-being.

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Dad's DivorceGetting a divorce is never easy, but it can be especially difficult in cases where spouses are argumentative, hostile, or unable to cooperate with each other. If your spouse is a narcissist, or if you need to deal with high-conflict situations involving your children, your property, or other divorce-related issues, you will want to understand what you can do to protect your rights and reach a satisfactory outcome to your case. Some steps you can take to achieve success in your divorce include:

  • Set boundaries - During your divorce, you’ll want to focus on resolving legal issues rather than arguing about why your marriage ended or who was to blame. To make sure your spouse doesn’t drag you into emotional arguments, be clear with her about what topics you’re willing to discuss, and don’t be afraid to end a conversation that is getting heated. By keeping things as professional as possible, you can work on reaching a workable divorce settlement that will meet your needs and protect your children’s best interests.
  • Keep documentation - If your spouse has lied to you about any issues in your divorce, changed her mind after making agreements, or acted in an abusive or harassing manner, you’ll want to preserve any evidence of this behavior. Make sure to save any emails or text messages you have sent to each other, as well as any other evidence showing that your spouse has behaved unreasonably or inappropriately. If necessary, this documentation may be used as evidence during divorce litigation.
  • Avoid involving your children in your disputes - You should do everything you can to avoid exposing your children to conflict between you and your spouse, including refraining from making negative comments about the other parent in front of them or asking them to send messages between the two of you. In a high-conflict situation, you may need to make arrangements to protect your children’s best interests, such as picking them up and dropping them off in a public place or setting rules for phone calls or electronic communication.
  • Take a break from social media - Even though you may be tempted to complain about your spouse or your divorce on Facebook or Twitter, it is best to avoid doing so while your case is ongoing. Disparaging comments about your spouse could be taken out of context or used to argue that you aren’t willing to work together to protect your kids’ best interests. Other information you share could also be used against you during the divorce process, so it’s often a good idea to avoid social networks altogether until your divorce is over.
  • Get legal help - The best way to make sure your rights are protected is to work with an experienced divorce attorney. Your lawyer can help you understand the best ways to address your legal issues while advocating for your interests in court hearings. They can also help you take the right steps to demonstrate that you can provide for your children’s best interests as you determine how to handle child custody matters going forward.

 

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Dad's divorce law2020 is not an easy time to be a parent. This is especially true for divorced or divorcing fathers. Whether you have lost your job or suffered financial setbacks, are working from home, or need to maintain regular contact with the public, you may be struggling with the ever-present health risks and uncertainty about the future. Issues related to your children can add to your stress, and you may worry about your kids’ safety if they are attending school in person, or you may be concerned about your ability to provide the help they need if they are learning at home.

As you deal with these ongoing issues, it is important to understand that you are not alone. Parents throughout the United States are currently struggling to help meet their children’s educational needs. Surveys have shown that more than half of parents are managing children’s remote learning activities while also working either inside or outside the home. It is understandable for parents to feel uncertain about their ability to help their children with ongoing schoolwork, and taking on these responsibilities in addition to their regular jobs and household duties can lead to a great deal of stress.

As you work to balance your children’s needs with your own mental health and other concerns, you will want to understand how you can deal with stress and make the best of a difficult situation. Here are some tips for how you can take care of yourself and continue being the best dad you can be:

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Dad's Divorce LawyersFor many parents, fall represents a time when strict routines kick in after a more relaxed summer. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has caused many families to be worried about children’s safety while they are in school. This is especially true for parents who are separated or divorced, and dads who share custody of their kids may be concerned about the safety procedures followed and the methods used to minimize the risks of infection. Fortunately, divorced fathers can work to put their minds at ease while ensuring that their children will receive a good education by doing the following:

Review School Safety Procedures

Your first priority will likely be to understand what your children’s school is doing to protect the health and safety of students and their families. Experts have recommended that schools enforce social distancing by keeping students’ desks spaced apart, holding classes outdoors when possible, enforcing one-way traffic in hallways, and grouping students and teachers into “cohorts” that stay together throughout each school day. Masks should be required at all times (aside from lunch), and students and teachers should wash their hands and clean surfaces regularly. Schools may also minimize contact between students by reducing class sizes through the use of staggered schedules in which students spend some days at school and some days learning at home.

Cooperate to Help Kids Learn at Home 

In many cases, children will be on an alternating schedule where they spend some days at school and some days at home. However, parents may decide to keep children away from school altogether during the pandemic, requiring them to do schoolwork from home full-time. Whatever approach your family will be taking, you will want to work together with your ex to figure out the best ways to meet your children’s needs. This may involve one of you working from home so you can supervise your kids during the day, or you may use babysitters or get help from extended family members to make sure your kids are completing their schoolwork and receiving any assistance they need while they are at home.

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Naperville fathers' rights lawyer for parental relocationAs a divorced dad, you may struggle with the fact that you get to spend less time with your children that you did while you were married. Even if you share custody and have a significant amount of parenting time, you may not get as much time with your kids as you would like, and you will probably do everything you can to make the most of the time you do have with them. Because of this, you will want to make sure you address any issues that could affect your relationship with your children.

One concern that many dads face is the possibility that their ex will decide to move to a new home in a different city or state. If your kids’ mom is planning to move a significant distance away from you, this could limit the amount of time you are able to spend with them, especially if you end up spending a large amount of your parenting time transporting your children between your homes. You will most likely want to prevent major changes like this so you can continue being a primary parental figure for your kids.

Fortunately, you do have legal options in this type of situation, and you can take steps to protect your parental rights. With the help of a DuPage County family law attorney, you can file a petition in court seeking to prevent a move by your ex-spouse, and you can take steps to show why this relocation would not be in your children’s best interests. 

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Downers Grove uncontested divorce lawyerAs everyone knows, divorce is not easy. If you are looking at the potential end of your marriage, this most likely means that your relationship with your spouse has broken down to the point where you no longer want to be together. This is probably not something you planned for, and you may both be feeling some pain and anger about the situation. However, this does not mean that your divorce has to turn ugly, and you may want to do everything you can to reduce conflict and finish the process quickly while avoiding major arguments and huge legal fees.

Fortunately, you have options for getting through your divorce while maintaining an amicable relationship with your spouse and cooperating with each other as much as possible. If you and your spouse are on the same page about these goals, you may be able to complete the divorce process much more easily and reach an outcome that you are both satisfied with.

It is important to remember that even if you are committed to avoiding conflict, you will want to work with an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer who can help you make the right decisions. Letting your attorney know your plans and goals will make sure they can help you protect your rights and resolve matters in a way that will allow you to move on from your divorce successfully.

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St. Charles father’s rights attorneyToday’s fathers are often much more involved in raising their children than those from previous generations. Married couples or unmarried parents are more likely to share in family responsibilities, and in many cases, both partners work full-time jobs, make decisions together, and cooperate on chores and household tasks. Unlike the stereotypical dads of the past who left most child-related duties up to moms, modern fathers will often play a vital role in caring for their children.

Unfortunately, when married parents choose to get a divorce or unmarried parents decide to separate, many dads feel that their role as a parent is minimized, and they may struggle with concerns that they will not be able to continue to be closely involved in their children’s lives. After years of changing diapers, making sure kids are properly fed and clothed, attending children’s activities and doctor’s appointments, helping with homework, and myriad other parental responsibilities, fathers will want to keep up this level of involvement and be the great parent their children deserve.

If you are getting divorced, or if you are an unmarried parent who needs to address the custody of your children, you will want to be sure you take the right steps to protect your father’s rights. By working with a Kane County family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights as a parent, the decisions you will need to make, and the best ways to reach an outcome that will provide for your children’s best interests. Some of the issues that you may need to consider include:

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Dad's divorce lawyersThe coronavirus pandemic has affected many families’ lives, and it looks like it will continue to do so as parents and children begin to go back to school in the fall. In some cases, the adjustments families have made as children have stayed home from school and parents have worked from home or suffered job losses have thrown the usual rules and routines into chaos. Because of this, maintaining consistency when it comes to discipline has been a concern for many parents. 

Divorced dads sometimes struggle to  figure out how to handle discipline of their children and maintain a balance between work, life, and parenting, and this was true even before the COVID-19 crisis became a factor. Adjusting to living in two homes can be difficult for children, and even when dads do their best to stay consistent, children can act out or push their boundaries. The additional stresses and anxieties that children are currently experiencing can make these issues even worse. Being cooped up at home and unable to spend time with friends and extended family members is likely to lead to increased behavioral issues for children, and dads will want to understand how they can provide the appropriate level of discipline while working to meet their kids’ needs.

Here are a few tips for you can discipline your children effectively while addressing concerns related to the pandemic:

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Alimony attorneysIf you’re considering divorce or are planning to end your marriage, you may need to prepare for the possibility that you will have to pay financial support to your spouse. On the other hand, you may be able to receive this type of support if you earn a lower income than your spouse. These payments may be referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance, or spousal support, and they are usually paid by a spouse who earns a significantly higher income than their former partner. Understanding whether spousal support will play a role in your divorce can help you make sure you will have the financial resources you need as you move on to the next stage of your life.

How Is Alimony Determined?

The purpose of spousal support is to make sure that once a divorce is complete, both spouses will be able to continue living at the standard they were used to during their marriage. In some cases, each spouse will be able to support themselves on their own income, and alimony won’t be necessary. However, if one spouse earned the majority of the family's income, or if one spouse is a stay-at-home parent, spousal maintenance may be awarded to ensure that the lower-earning spouse can meet their needs.

The spouse who expects to receive alimony will usually need to make the case that these types of payments are needed. Depending on the laws in your state, a judge may look at different factors to decide whether to award spousal support. They may consider each spouse’s ability to earn an income and support themselves, whether one spouse remained out of the workforce or gave up career opportunities so they could take care of family responsibilities, whether one spouse helped the other further their education or career, and the amount of time a spouse may need to obtain education or training, seek employment, and become self-supporting.

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Parenting plan modifications during the coronavirus pandemicThe coronavirus pandemic has thrown nearly everyone’s lives into disarray. While most people have had to cope with difficulties related to stay-at-home orders, changing work schedules, or unemployment, many of these adjustments have been particularly hard for parents due to school closures and the need to care for children while working from home. If you are a divorced parent, you might be struggling to balance your responsibilities while also following your court-ordered parenting time schedule, and you may be wondering whether you can make temporary changes to your parenting arrangements to address your needs during this difficult time. 

Temporary Modifications to Parenting Agreements

In most cases, you are allowed to modify your parenting plan temporarily, as long as you and the other parent agree on the changes that you plan to make. Ideally, you’ll want to work together with your ex-spouse and make reasonable accommodations to meet each other’s needs. For instance, if you are working from home while your ex is required to go into the office, you may agree that your kids will stay with you during the day, even if this would not normally be part of your scheduled parenting time.

Even though you’re encouraged to cooperate with your ex during this time and find ways you can make changes that will meet each other’s needs, it’s a good idea to keep a record of your communications and make sure you have a written agreement in place for the temporary modifications you will be making. This can help you avoid problems if disputes arise in the future, and you will be able to show that you acted reasonably and did your best to find solutions that work for everyone.

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Virtual divorce mediation during the coronavirus pandemicMany parts of society have been put on hold temporarily in response to COVID-19 and its rapid spread throughout the world. However, marital issues are not something that many couples are able to simply pause. If your marriage has broken down, and you’re thinking of getting a divorce, you aren’t going to want to wait for the country to open back up before moving forward with your case. Fortunately, attorneys in all areas of practice, including divorce lawyers, have been deemed essential workers, allowing them to remain active and assist clients with the divorce process during the pandemic.

In order to provide services safely, many law firms are offering digital services to meet their clients’ needs. In the area of family law, this includes meetings with soon-to-be divorcees over the phone or by video chat. For many law firms that offer divorce mediation, spouses may speak with their third-party mediator through digital means.

What Are the Benefits of Mediation?

Depending on your relationship with your spouse and the level of conflict between the two of you, divorce mediation can be one of the best ways to resolve disputes and reach a divorce settlement. Mediation offers an alternative to divorce litigation, and it can allow you to avoid the time and expense involved in resolving matters in the courtroom. 

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Dating tips for single fathersWhen you get divorced, you may have been ready to move on from your marriage for some time, or you may still be reeling from the changes you’ve experienced in your life. Whether you’ve taken some time to reorient yourself or are still adapting to your new normal, you may be wondering when you should start looking for a new partner. But how do you really know when you’re ready to begin a new relationship, and what steps should you follow as you begin dating again after your divorce?

What Do I Need to Consider as I Get Ready for Dating?

You may not relish the prospect of re-entering the dating scene, but you will probably be looking to find a new romantic partner at some point. Building a new relationship can take work, but it can provide many benefits, especially when you’re able to find the right person who you love spending time with and you can rely on to be there for you. 

Unfortunately, the desire to be in a loving, committed relationship might lead you down the wrong path. By making sure you are ready before you begin dating, you can help avoid some of the issues that may have led to the breakdown of your marriage. It is a good idea to take some time to think about what did and didn’t work in your previous relationship(s) and what you want and need in a new partner. 

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Protect your health during divorceEveryone handles their divorce differently — maybe you’re grieving with the help of a large bag of potato chips or with a few beers and some friends. Getting through a divorce can be especially difficult for men, as they tend to avoid discussing emotions or seeking help from others. This is especially true in the midst of a pandemic when hanging out with friends or going to a bar are no longer on the table. Not all guys are going to be open to getting in touch with their feelings, so it can be hard to find other outlets for staying healthy, both mentally and physically. Though COVID-19 may be limiting your ability to spend time with family and friends, there are other ways you can come out on the other side of your divorce happy and healthy.

Avoid Overindulging

This is a challenge for everyone at the moment, whether single, married, or in the middle of a divorce. Now that “going to work” consists of sitting in your home with your laptop and a pair of sweatpants, it’s easy to allow yourself to indulge a little too much. Easily accessible snacks, sugary drinks, and alcoholic beverages after work can quickly become your go-to. There’s nothing wrong with allowing yourself to take advantage of these unique circumstances and enjoy yourself, but you may not notice how much is being added to your waistline before it’s too late.

Consistency is Key

The term “consistency” can seem impossible in the middle of a global pandemic. This is especially true if your “normal” has been completely turned upside down due to your divorce. You’ll need to create your new normal in both your professional and your personal life. Try settling on a schedule that you can follow on a daily basis for the next few months. Whether this involves a workout in the morning or time set aside for new hobbies, having a schedule can help you feel more in control and less concerned with the minor details of your daily life.

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Divorce during COVID-19The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge impact on all of our lives. Even if you haven’t been directly affected by an infection, you’ve probably had to deal with inconveniences due to being required to stay at home or maintain social distancing. In the worst cases, people have lost their jobs, been unable to make rent or mortgage payments, or suffered devastating losses due to the illness or death of family members. Along with all of these other concerns, many people’s marriages have been pushed to the breaking point or beyond due to the stresses and difficulties they are experiencing. If you’re considering getting divorced, you may need to deal with some issues and concerns that you wouldn’t have to address in other circumstances. During the divorce process, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:

  1. Figure out how to separate while sharing a home - Moving out of your home and finding new living arrangements might be difficult right now. Due to concerns about infections, you may not want to visit potential new houses or apartments, or you may simply be unable to afford to move because of your financial situation. However, sharing a home with your spouse might seem impossible when your relationship has broken down. You may want to agree that each of you will mostly stay in your own separate areas of your house, and you could create schedules for when each of you will use shared areas such as the kitchen or family room. By figuring out how to make things work while you continue to live together, you can avoid conflicts and arguments and decrease stress during an already difficult time.

  2. Determine court procedures - Currently, many courts have closed or are operating at limited capacity to avoid spreading infections. However, courts will typically be able to address emergency issues, such as domestic violence or orders of protection, if the need arises. As you proceed with the divorce process, you’ll need to understand how procedures might have changed. In some cases, courts might hold virtual hearings, allowing you to address matters without actually entering the courtroom. Your divorce lawyer can help you understand what steps you’ll need to take as you go through the divorce process.

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Summer vacation parenting time tips for single fathersWhether you are currently going through divorce, were recently divorced, or have been a single father for some time, you’ve probably struggled with the events that have affected our lives in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our personal and professional lives due to stay-at-home orders, economic difficulties, and school closures. Now, just as summer vacation is about to begin for many children, the wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country has led to outbreaks of violence and curfews in many cities. Whether you had made plans for the summer with your kids or were simply planning to enjoy spending time with them, events may be throwing everything into confusion, and you may be unsure about how to proceed.

Depending on your parenting agreement, you may have more time with your kids over the summer, and you will want to make the most of your parenting time during these months. Here are a few tips to follow as you make your summer plans:

  1. Find ways to show solidarity - Your kids may express a desire to participate in protests, or they may want to do what they can to express and share their beliefs and opinions. While it may be appropriate to take older children to protests or demonstrations, you should be sure to discuss this with the other parent first to address any safety concerns. You will also want to have a plan for staying together, avoiding any violence, and getting home safely. As an alternative, you could work with your kids to find ways you can show support from home, such as posting pictures or videos on social media, writing messages in chalk on your sidewalk, or donating to causes you believe in.

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Parenting time tips for divorced fathersFor many divorced fathers, transitioning from married life to single fatherhood can be difficult, and this change can be hard on children too. If you and your kids are used to spending time together every day, you might struggle to adjust to being with them only part of the time. However, this doesn’t mean your relationship with your kids will need to suffer. By focusing on your children’s needs and staying connected with them, you can make sure the parenting time you have is a positive experience for everyone. Here are some tips getting the most out of the time you spend with your children after your divorce:

  1. Maintain consistency - Kids do best when they have regular schedules and routines in their daily lives. While you and your ex won’t necessarily need to follow the same schedules in both of your homes, you can do your best to stay consistent in how you handle things when your kids are with you. Your children will be comfortable in your home if they know when they can expect to eat meals, do homework, go to bed, get up in the morning, or any other regular activities.

  2. Keep kids informed - You can help your kids transition between your and your ex’s households by making sure they know which days they will be at which parent’s home. Using a calendar to mark the days they will spend at each home will make sure they know what to expect, and giving them reminders before they go to the other parent’s home can make sure they are prepared to make the transition. If there will be any changes to the parenting time schedule, tell your kids in advance so they are not disappointed about these adjustments.

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Domestic violence and orders of protection during the coronavirus pandemicMany families are struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Job losses have caused significant financial difficulties for many people, and requirements to stay at home have caused some family relationships to suffer. The different forms of stress that people are experiencing in their homes may lead to serious relationship issues between family members. Based on trends from previous disasters, some are concerned that the rates of domestic violence will increase as the crisis continues. If you are a father who needs help addressing family violence, or if you have been accused of committing abuse or violence against a family member, you should be sure to understand your legal options and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Addressing Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse and family violence is an issue that can affect both men and women. While one third of the women in the U.S. have experienced violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, one fourth of men have also experienced this type of abuse. While the jury is still out about whether domestic violence has increased during the coronavirus crisis, the requirements imposed on families during the pandemic may cause a family’s existing problems to intensify, which can lead to dangerous situations.

The isolation that many families are experiencing is likely to be a major factor in domestic abuse cases. A person who commits abuse will often seek to control their partner by cutting them off from other forms of support, such as friends and family members. Stay-at-home orders that limit contact with others may end up increasing the cycle of abuse experienced by a victim. When combined with the stress families are already experiencing, financial difficulties, and the high potential for substance abuse, this situation may turn a relationship that is already experiencing problems into an environment where family members’ safety and well-being is threatened.

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Modifying child support after losing your jobThe coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly everyone in the United States, and in addition to concerns about how an infection can impact your health and well-being, you may also be experiencing financial difficulties. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have forced many businesses to close, and many people have lost their jobs or seen reductions in the income they earn. In fact, unemployment rates have risen to levels that have not been seen in the U.S. since the Great Depression. If you have lost your job or experienced a reduction in income, you will likely be concerned about how this will affect your child support obligations.

Requirements to Pay Court-Ordered Child Support

If you have been ordered to pay child support following your divorce or after separating from your child’s other parent, these orders will remain in effect, regardless of your employment status. This means that even if you lose your job, you will still be required to pay child support owed, and if you miss any payments, you will be required to make them up in the future, and you may also owe interest on late payments.

However, even though you will still have the obligation to provide financial support for your children, family courts will most likely recognize that changes in the income you earn have affected your ability to pay. You may be able to pursue a modification of your child support order based on your new circumstances. Any changes to child support may take other forms of income into account, including unemployment benefits you earn, government stimulus payments, or other assets you own that could be used to meet your children’s needs. If your ex-spouse has also experienced a job loss or employment issues, the child support modifications may also take these factors into account.

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Protecting fathers’ rights to parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemicCOVID-19 has affected the lives of just about everyone in the United States. Even if you or members of your family have not been personally affected by a coronavirus infection, you will still need to deal with school closures, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing restrictions. This can all be stressful enough, especially if government-mandated business closures have affected your ability to work, but matters may become even worse if you are involved in a child custody dispute during this time. In these cases, you will want to be sure to understand how to protect your rights and the legal measures you can take to address these issues.

Can My Ex Refuse to Allow Me to See My Child?

During the coronavirus pandemic, some parents may try to restrict the time their ex-partners spend with their children, or they may attempt to withhold parenting time or visitation altogether. For some parents, these actions may be taken due to a legitimate concern for children’s safety, but unfortunately, some parents may attempt to use this opportunity to gain the upper hand in a child custody dispute or act maliciously against their former partner.

If your ex-spouse or ex-partner has attempted to withhold or restrict your parenting time with your children, you will first want to determine how your state is currently addressing these matters. In many cases, state government officials have stated that parents should continue to carry out the orders specified in divorce or child custody agreements, and even when non-essential travel has been restricted, transportation of children between parents’ homes has been allowed. 

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