My ex is Using the Pandemic as an Excuse to Keep me From my Child. What do I do?
My ex is using the pandemic as an excuse to keep me from my child. What do I do?
I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.
If your ex is not allowing you to exercise your court-ordered parenting time because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can file a motion to enforce your parenting time. The motion should specify all time that you have missed, specifying dates and amounts of days or even hours that you have been missed, and request time to compensate for the missed parenting time. You also can request attorney fees associated with seeking to enforce your court-ordered parenting time.
Your jurisdiction may have a deadline for courts to hear motions to enforce visitation. Throughout the country, courthouses unfortunately are closed to the public, and in-person hearings are not taking place unless they are deemed to be emergencies.
However, many jurisdictions are conducting court proceedings remotely, such as with Zoom. Even though most courthouses are closed, they largely are allowing filing. Each jurisdiction is different, so it is important to speak with an attorney who specializes in family law in your area and find out whether you can have such a hearing, either in-person or remotely, at this time.
If your jurisdiction currently is not conducting hearings, it still is important to file a request for relief with the court to enforce your parenting time and/or seek compensatory time to help preserve your rights. This will be helpful to show the court that this is important to you, and you took the appropriate action in a timely manner.
Even the filing of such a motion may result in your ex complying with the court-ordered parenting time to avoid court proceedings. You also can seek participation in mediation to attempt to resolve the issue outside of court. A mediator can help you and your ex reach agreements to reinstate your court-ordered parenting time and compensating parenting time. Oftentimes, mediation can resolve the issues more quickly, more creatively, and with more input from the parties than resolving the issue by going to court and having the judge make the decision.
Mediators employ techniques, such as reality testing, reframing, and offering their experienced feedback where appropriate, to get even the toughest cases settled.
If there is a significant distance between you and your ex and exercising your parenting time includes significant travel and especially if it requires air travel, the court may not enforce your time during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this does not mean you should not file a request for relief from the court because you still can seek compensating time.