Parenting Time With Your Children During The COVID Crisis

Another issue that has arisen with respect to visitation schedules due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been following parenting time while the children are engaged in distance-learning and not attending school. Often times you may find a visitation order that allows one parent the have parenting time beginning “after school.” With there be no physical attendance at school, the query arises what does after school mean? Unfortunately, there is no real answer to this question. The best approach, if possible, would be to work with the other parent to arrange for an exchange time of the child during this unprecedented period. However, sometimes that is simply not possible and the court would need to be involved. Again, one parent does not have the right to unilaterally make changes or interpret the existing order as he or she sees fit. If there remains dispute as to what language may mean within an existing order, such as what does “after school” mean during distance learning, the best approach would be to file a motion with the court.

The court may take many approaches to interpreting this language with the end goal of finding what is in the best interest of the child. For instance, the court may find that the parent who has have the visitation after school would be capable of engaging the child and distance learning at his or her home and have the child be with that parent for the day. Other judges may take the approach that after school reflected a certain time such as 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. when the school would otherwise close. Given that most visitation orders were drafted without anticipating a school closure due to pandemic, the language is subject to interpretation and you will want an experienced attorney to argue your position on your behalf.

Do You Need To Speak To A Rhode Island Child Custody Attorney?

If you are concerned about your child custody agreement or need to create one you should to speak with an experienced Rhode Island child custody attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Warwick office directly at 401.946.3200 to schedule your free consultation. We help divorce clients in Providence, Warwick and all areas of Rhode Island.

Jesse Nason
Helping Rhode Island residents with all of their family law, divorce and child custody needs since 2006.
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