The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with an unprecedented health risk that has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives. For parents with child visitation court orders, spending time with children is generally no exception.
Unfortunately, some parents have safety concerns about letting their child spend time with the other parent. For example, one parent may take social distancing and other safety measures less seriously than the other.
Do shelter-in-place orders affect visitation?
The short answer is no. The Texas Supreme Court ruled that child visitation court orders are not affected by the COVID-19 pandemic or shelter-in-place orders related to the pandemic.
If you have safety concerns, you might be hesitant to abide by court orders. Instead of violating them, however, you should try to find a legal way to overcome your concerns.
Communication with the other parent
The simplest action you can take is often to communicate with the other parent. Let him or her know why you are concerned.
You may be able to agree on safety precautions or a modified visitation schedule.
Modifying your court orders
If you and the other parent are unable to come to an agreement, you may want to seek modifications to your orders in court.
This may help you create a new schedule that works better for both parties during the pandemic.
What happens if I violate a court order?
If you decide to violate a court order, you risk the other parent filing charges against you. You could be held in contempt of court, which could result in fines, probation, or even jail time.
Remember, however, that the best interest of the child is the standard of the court. If you violate a court order because you believe the child is in imminent danger, document the danger as best you can. The more documentation you have, the more likely your attorney will be able to defend you in court..
Before taking any action, you should consult an expert in family law, such as Leslie Werner or Charles Ferguson with The Werner Law Group. Our firm can also help defend you if the other parent has unreasonably violated court orders. Whether you need modifications to a court order, or are concerned with how to ensure safety measures when your child is with their other parent, we can help. Contact us here on our website, or text Leslie at 361-648-6888.