Child Custody And COVID-19 Explained

Child Custody And COVID-19 Explained

by Jun 10, 2020Child Custody, COVID-19

As California and the rest of the country continue to adjust to the new reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of families are struggling to find the right balance between public safety and their own responsibilities. Among other things many parents are wondering how to handle child custody agreements in the era of social distancing.

Does Social Distancing Impact Child Custody?

In California, social distancing and any shelter-in-place orders do not directly affect child custody orders. This means parents should continue following their existing custody agreements unless both parents decide to modify the plan or a judge changes the custody order.

Family courts have made it clear that failure to follow existing custody orders during the pandemic may result in contempt of court charges.

If possible, parents should discuss any concerns they have regarding their children’s (and their own) safety and agree on measures both households will follow to meet their children’s best interests.

Parents who are high-risk for COVID-19 (healthcare workers, etc) should make every effort to reach a clear agreement with their children’s other parent(s) on how to keep children and family members safe.

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Emergency Custody Orders

Parents who put their children (and others) at risk by knowingly exposing themselves or their children to COVID-19 risk losing custody.

If you believe your child’s health is at risk, you should contact a reputable family law attorney right away and seek advice. If a judge decides that it’s in a child’s best interests to postpone or limit visits to a parent for a period of time, they can modify the child custody order on a temporary basis.

Additionally if your ex refuses to honor your current custody agreement because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you should speak with a lawyer about what steps can be taken.

If you have additional questions about child custody please contact our office at your convenience for a free phone consultation.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

We provide representation in California State and Federal Courts. We accept most major credit cards for your convenience.

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