Some parents are facing difficult decisions during this COVID-19 pandemic, including whether their children should be physically near a parent that is working with the public. For some families, it means that one parent temporarily lives in another part of the house. A related CNN article can be found here. For other families, it means one parent temporarily lives in another place altogether. A related ABC article can be found here.
But, for co-parents that live in separate households, the thought of children being near a parent that is a first responder, a front-line worker, or an essential employee can lead to even more difficult decisions. The guidance from the Maryland Judiciary is clear:
All court orders for a child’s custody, parenting time, and child support are still in effect. In some situations, if permitted under the court order, custodians can jointly adjust their shared parenting responsibilities in ways that they agree are best for the children. If custodians are not able to agree, the court order controls.
When one parent refuses to allow the other parent to spend time with their children, often the refusing parent could be faced with a Petition for Contempt for not following a court order. The ramifications from a finding of contempt can be far-reaching and can include civil and/or criminal repercussions.
Pursuing or defending allegations of contempt should not be taken lightly and is a serious matter. If you dealing with this type of situation and need guidance, reach out to an experienced family attorney for assistance.