Visitation Schedules and School Cancellations due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Virus

Parents wonder how visitation schedules and school cancellations due to the COVID-19 outbreak work. There is a lot of confusion. Parents wonder when does summer break starts. They wonder if they follow the summer schedule for visitation or follow the regular school schedule. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly requires additional clarification regarding child custody and visitation schedules.

School Cancellations due to COVID-19

Most parents’ child custody orders never considered visitation or issues related to exchanging the children during a national health crisis like the Coronavirus, COVID-19.  Parents are seeking clarification.

These closures are meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Despite the need for these closures parent and children lives have been disrupted.

Recognizing parents' need for clarification of their court-order visitation schedule the State Supreme Court signed the Second Emergency Order Regarding the COVID-19 State of Disaster, Misc. Docket No. 20-2043 on March 17, 2020. This emergency order is in effect until May 3, 2020 unless the Supreme Court of Texas decides to extend the duration.

What does this mean for visitation schedules?

The Texas Supreme Court defined visitation (or possession and access) of the child when ruled by a court-ordered possession schedule.  The Supreme Court determined that the non-custodial parent and custodial parent are to follow the original schools schedule that was published.  Therefore the start of summer break is not affected by school years being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents can work together to find an alternative visitation or parenting schedule to work better for them during this disruption of life as long as both parents agree.  Parents must understand that if they agree to a different visitation schedule that a verbal agreement does not alter or replace the signed court order. If parents are wanting to make a permanent change to their court order custody they will need to get a new order signed by a judge.

How Do I Change My Court Order?

Seeking the help of an experienced organization is always advisable when you are dealing with child custody issues.  America Family Law Center is one such organization. Whether it is enforcement of your visitation, return of your child, or a change in custody contact them today.  Call or text.

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