With all the uncertainty that COVID-19 has brought thus far, parents can’t help but let their minds fill with thoughts and unanswered questions regarding how their child custody rights are being affected.
Child custody rights are duly established for a reason. So, as much havoc COVID-19 has wreaked on the world, parents in the State of Texas still have rights! We’ve outlined some of the most frequently asked questions to help parents learn more about where they stand with their rights of child visitation and custody in the State of Texas.
My child is currently residing in a home with a shelter-in-place order. Are they permitted to travel?
The Texas Supreme Court issued an order, effective from April 27th to July 25th that in order to determine a person’s right to visit and gain access to a child, the existing trial court order controls in all instances. This means that visitation is not affected by any of the shelter-in-place or COVID-19-related orders.
Can I keep my child from seeing the other parent if I think that someone on their side of the family is at risk or potentially has COVID-19?
You are taking a legal risk if you do not allow or return your child to the other parent. This may be a violation of court order. If you have any evidence to believe that your child is in danger by allowing them to stay or visit the other parent, it is best that you get in touch with a lawyer. Whatever you decide to do for your child, you should keep any relevant documentation to support why and what you did. Documentation that you will want to include may consist of the date of the scheduled visit, the time of the visitation attempt, the time at which the police were called, and the police report (if done).
Should I expect a delay in my child support payments?
Officials do not foresee a delay in the process of receiving child support payments due to COVID-19. The Rosales Law Firm can assist you in ensuring that your payments are being sent out or are being received in a timely manner between you and the other parent.
What do I do if my child support hearing has been postponed or rescheduled due to COVID-19?
If you were scheduled to show up at a hearing for your child support case but it has been rescheduled or postponed, it is best for you to get in touch with your lawyer and the court to see if virtual negotiations are possible. For more information, it is advised that you contact your local court operations.
The other parent and I live in different states. What does this mean regarding our child custody and visitation rights?
Effective from March 30, 2020, anyone traveling within Louisiana and Texas was ordered to self-quarantine once reaching their destination and when returning. Orders were issued to be lifted by May 1st.
Quarantine may also apply if you are coming to Texas from other states as well. Although, this does not affect parent-child relationships. Court-ordered visitation rights still apply.
It is encouraged for parents to discuss visitation options in order to comply with stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders. If you and the other parent cannot come to an agreement, it is best that you contact your lawyer to further negotiate.
The summer is coming up. Are visitation rights and vacation plans affected by the pandemic?
Unless your orders have been recently changed by a court since the coronavirus situation, visitation orders are still to be followed accordingly. COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders are unlikely to affect summer visitation, but it is advised that you stay in the know with local law enforcement and with international memos to understand how they might affect your plans.
We’re Here to Address Your Concerns
We understand how uncertainty can leave you and your family with tons of questions. The Rosales Law Firm is here to help you as much as possible, especially when it comes to being able to visit your child. Contact us today to learn more about where your child custody case stands and how we can assist you.