Top 5 FAQs regarding COVID19 & Family Law

Are there any changes during COVID for possession time?

The Texas Supreme Court ruled early on that for purposes of determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered schedule, the originally published school calendar shall control in all instances. For example, if a parent had the child during spring break, that parent still has to return the child the Sunday before school was scheduled to start again after spring break - even if school was postponed indefinitely at that time. The parents are to pretend like the regularly scheduled school calendar is in place and go by that for visitation.

What about an emergency shelter in place order? Does that affect visitation?

The Texas Supreme Court has held that possession of and access to a child shall not be affected by a shelter in place order issued by any governmental entity and the parents are expected to follow the existing possession orders, unless they agree otherwise. 

How is co-parenting affected if a parent is potentially exposed to COVID?

First, the parents should confer and try to work something out between themselves. However, it would be best to confer with the healthcare provider, if possible, regarding your child and his or her potential exposure to the virus if they visit. If you decide that there is a reasonable concern for your child’s safety and welfare making visitation impossible, that parent should employ electronic communication and should return to in person visits as soon as self-isolation has ended according to their health care professional. Be prepared to offer additional time for the parent who missed visitation due to COVID. 

Be sure to keep records of all of your conversations regarding any changes to visitation, just in case you need them for court later on.

Guidelines for co-parenting and remote learning?

There are no permanent guidelines in place for remote learning. However, know that teachers are working very hard, but may miss a non-custodial parent’s copy of school papers as a reminder email may be needed. See parents notification template for co-parenting and contact information.

Does a parent have to pay child support if he or she becomes unemployed?

If a parent loses their job due to COVID19 and is unable to pay child support, unfortunately, their child support obligation will continue until changed by court order. It is very important to file to modify child support as soon as possible as the date of filing is the soonest date the court may consider the modification. 

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