One of the most emotional aspects of a divorce is determining custody. When those holidays roll around every year, and a parent faces not seeing their child, it can bring up strong feelings. Now, with Rhode Island topping 75,000 cases of COVID-19 and the U.S. approaching 17 million cases, custody disputes can become even more heated. But there are some ways you can help smooth the way and work out your custody clash.
Follow Your Custody Order
First, you should know that most courts in Rhode Island won't let you defy a custody order because of the pandemic. Unless you have a quarantined family member in your home with a confirmed diagnosis that you can show the court, you need to stick to your custody schedule as best you can.
Perhaps you're concerned about out-of-state travel, whether during a pandemic or any time. Once again, you should consult your custody agreement. Some agreements may require the other parent to give permission for out-of-state travel or forbid this altogether. If there are restrictions in your custody agreement, make sure that you follow them as well.
Keep Communications Civil
Remember that you can only control what happens in your home. If your co-parent doesn't follow the same social distancing and mask restrictions that you do, you should discuss it ahead of time. But understand that ultimately you can only control your actions and reactions.
If possible, talk to your co-parent about your expectations and arrangements for exchanging the kids. If your kids normally fly between the two households and one of you isn't comfortable with that right now, see if driving and meeting halfway is an option.
Try to Compromise
The best way to keep things calm and simple is to try to compromise whenever you can. If one of you can't have the kids visit this year because of illness, unemployment, or work, see if you can add additional visitation time over spring break or summer vacation. If the grandparents are giving one of you a hard time because you can't travel, set up a holiday visit on Zoom or Skype.
Compromise and communication are always important, but If you're truly concerned about the health and safety of your children, you should talk to an experienced Rhode Island family law attorney as soon as possible. If you're facing serious custody challenges over the holidays, you don't have to handle this alone. Contact Inman and Tourgee online or give us a call at (401) 823-9200 to discuss your options. Our skilled family law attorneys are here to help.