Navigating shared custody agreements in a pandemic

Posted at 7:27 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 20:07:28-04

BALTIMORE — Tens of thousands of families are navigating new territory during this stay at home order: how to share custody of their children.

A family law attorney said he has heard from lots of clients and other attorneys about how to proceed.

"There are going to be situations where clients are coming to us the attorneys saying, 'I don't feel comfortable'," said family law attorney Harry Siegel.

What happens if the other spouse is not following social distancing?

What if a parent is a first responder and at higher risk?

What if a parent tests positive?

What if a parent lives out of state?

"Is the child required to go into quarantine once returning from that state coming back to Maryland? This is getting into the realm of unknowns and there are very large debates on lawyer listservs right now," said Siegel.

He said right now all custody orders need to still be complied with, but people also need to use common sense when it comes to potential exposure and interstate travel.

“At the end of all of this, we are going to see a lot of contempt cases and we are going to see magistrates and judges across the state evaluating whether a parent acted properly or improperly and a lot of times, a parent is going to have to make the ultimate judgment call,” said Siegel.

He recommends continual communication between parents and if issues cannot be resolved, reach out to a mediator.

You can also file in court as they are hearing cases on an emergency basis.