Does a Shelter-in-Place Order Limit my Right to Parenting Time?

Does a Shelter-in-Place Order Limit my Right to Parenting Time?


“Does a shelter in place order limit my right to parenting time?”


I practice law in the state of Virginia and Washington D.C. Unless you live there, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can give you some general observations on family law issues and how they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

In response to COVID-19, multiple states have issued shelter in place or stay at home orders. Navigating what these orders mean as they pertain to your custodial rights with your children may be difficult. Navigating your rights with the other parent may be even more difficult.

While many states have enacted shelter in place orders, or stay at home orders, they all are similar. Residents are required to stay indoors except to perform certain necessary activities. These activities include buying food, seeking medical treatment, banking, and laundromat services. This also includes any travel necessary to enforce a court order and for purposes of caring for a child or family member.

So, this means that the shelter in place orders, or stay at home orders, do not impact your right to parenting time, whether or not there is actually a custody and visitation order. However, that does not mean the other parent will not misconstrue, or try to abuse these orders in an attempt to block your access to your child.

In the situation where the other parent is misusing the shelter in place order to block your access to your child, it may be tempting to try and involve law enforcement. It is important to understand that even if you have a court order, the police are very unlikely to physically remove a child from the other parent’s home. With the limited access to the courts, you may be left with few resources to compel the other parent to let you see your child.

If the other parent is blocking your access to your child, communication is necessary. You will want to communicate via text or email, as it may be necessary to show a judge that the other parent was blocking your access to your child. It also will be important to not give up on trying to see your child, as it is uncertain when these stay at home orders will end.

If you feel that your child’s health or safety is in danger, it may be necessary to file an Emergency Motion with the court. These motions allow you quick access to the courts, so that a judge can make a decision on the offending parent’s actions. Even though the courts are limiting access, they generally are open for emergency filings.

The most important thing that you can do is not give up on seeing your child. While your resources may be limited, there still are options available if you do not wait to act.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss rights for men and fathers with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.

Related coronavirus coverage:

Free Webinar: Can the Coronavirus Affect Custodial Rights? How Divorces and Parenting Time May Be Impacted

Cordell & Cordell Continuing Weekly COVID-19 And Divorce Webinar Series

Can I Make up Lost Parenting Time Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Coronavirus and Child Custody: Co-parenting During the Pandemic

Expect Divorce Rates to Rise After Coronavirus

Can I Proceed With Divorce if a Stay at Home Order is in Effect?

Should my Custody Order be Temporarily Adjusted During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Will I be Able to Meet With my Divorce Attorney During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

How COVID-19 Impacts Child Custody – Men’s Divorce Podcast

COVID-19’s Effect on Child Support and Alimony Payments – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Legal Custody and COVID-19 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

What Should Dads Be Doing During the Pandemic – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Financial Fallout of COVID-19 on Retirement and Investments – Men’s Divorce Podcast

COVID-19 and Divorce FAQ – Men’s Divorce Podcast

COVID-19 and Divorce FAQs Part 2 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Facing Child Custody Concerns During the Coronavirus Pandemic

How Can I Keep My Child Safer With a Co-Parent in the Medical Field During COVID-19?

Losing Custody During COVID-19 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Stimulus Checks for Divorced Men During COVID-19 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Empowering Yourself Through Divorce During COVID-19 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

COVID-19 and Summer Parenting Time – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Dealing With Closed Divorce Courts & Remote Hearings – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Exploring Remote Hearings and Informal Mediation During COVID-19

Status of Divorce Courts – Mens’ Divorce Podcast

Emergency Motions and Post-Judgement Relief in a Pandemic – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Practical Tips for Family Law During COVID-19 – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Alternative Dispute Resolutions – Men’s Divorce Podcast

Men's Rights Editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *