How Does COVID-19 Affect My Child Visitation?

Texas has issued a stay-at-home order and many parents wonder how this affects their child visitation.
Stay-at-home orders

One of the most common questions that we receive is how the current COVID-19, Coronavirus, affects parents’ visitation and child custody orders.  It is a confusing and fearful time for many parents. Parents are concerned about their child’s safety. during these unprecedented times much of Texas and the United States are under a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order. Many parents do not understand their obligation; whether or not to allow visitation or return the child to the custodial parent.

So what are my rights?

The Texas Supreme Court has taken steps to provide parents and the courts with guidance on child possession and access, visitation, in the middle of the current COVID-19 pandemic. They have issued two emergency orders.

On March 13, 2020, the Texas Supreme Court issued the Second Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster.  This order clarifies possession schedules as related to school closures. These school closure have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Texas Supreme Court is clear that school closures do not impact the parents’ child custody order. They clarified that the original published school schedule should be followed as it relates to spring break, non-school days, etc. 

Is my child in danger if I let them travel from house to house?

Then on March 24. 2020 the Texas Supreme Court issued the Seventh Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster.  This order clarifies how the governmental stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order affects child custody orders.  The Seventh Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster clarifies that the stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order does not change the non-custodial parent’s parenting time.  Nor does it give the non-custodial parent the right to not return the child at the end of their parenting time.

Both emergency orders regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster are in effect until May 8, 2020.  Either order can be extended at the discretion of the Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Where Can I Find Help?

COVID-19 has already significantly interrupted your and your child’s life.  If you are in need more help understanding your court orders and your rights it may be time to seek legal help.  We can help put you in-touch with the resources you need. Call or text us today. 

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