We are currently experiencing a situation that we have never seen before. Therefore, your decree of divorce probably does not have an answer for many of the situations that might arise amid the Pandemic. Below, are five things to think about as we move forward over the next few months:
- Social Distancing is an individual choice, however, if you have joint custody this is something that needs to be discussed and decided upon between the two parties even if you do not have joint custody, having an understanding as to who the child will see where the child will stay, daycare choices, and if the child should be around grandparents. As you discuss these issues, remember you are attempting to serve the child’s best interest in these choices
- COVID 19 Will impact visitation. The question is how much. It will all depend on the verbiage in your custody agreement. There is no “COVID 19 visitation plan in anyone’s court ordered visitation schedule. For instance, the answer could impact how many weeks of summer there are in the summer break for 2020 If the summer break is shortened, someone is going to loose out on time if you apply the existing visitation order. Take that percentage and apply it to a shortened summer visitation schedule. However, if your child is not yet of school age, and you are not court ordered to follow any schedule, I do not see the situation being impacted at all by the virus. These examples will not apply to all cases, the takeaway here is get to work on a plan now
- Will child support be impacted if you lose your job or suffer a loss of income? Yes, it absolutely will. The questions you need to answer are, how much of an impact will it cause, and is it temporary or permanent. The department of human services has a child support calculator you can use to get an idea of any impact or change in child support, based upon changes in income Go to OKDHS.org and look for the child support calculator. This situation will apply for both the payee and the payer.
- What if the government issues a stimulus which is based upon the number of children in the household? Who gets the money? Again, the decree probably will not provide an answer. However, if the decree splits the children for tax purposes would it not seem logical to split any government stimulus? If the decree gives one person, the children for tax purposes it seems that they should also receive any government stimulus. This is not the law, but just an idea to help you avoid having to take the issue to an attorney or to court.
- Every situation is unique. Communication can be difficult, but if there is ever a time to put differences aside, the time is now Do your best to offer up reasonable solutions and compromise. Do not wait until the last minute and think that you will be able to have access to the judge for an answer. I expect there will be a huge backlog in the court system once the courts resume. At this time, the court system in Oklahoma has suspended operations regarding all non emergency matters. Identifying issues and finding solutions is key to your peace of mind.
The above 5 dilemma’s need to be addressed as soon as possible . We are in a unique situation in time and there may not be an answer to everyone’s questions. The one thing to remember is, when dealing with children,
we need to keep their best interests at heart, and not use this situation to further our own agendas. Put aside your differ enc es and focus on them. If you are unable to do so, contact Bedlam Law at 405.232.2444, we can help you with an amicable resolution.