Impact of Coronavirus on Divorce & Child Custody in Singapore
The coronavirus pandemic has thrust the world into a period of fear and uncertainty. For divorced parents, these feelings are intensified. How can parents protect their children from potential exposure to the virus without violating a shared custody or visitation order? What if one parent believes a particular activity is safe for the children, but the other believes that it isn’t?
There’s no question that we’re in uncharted territory here. We’re just learning how to handle the ways the virus is upending normal routines. Here are a few tips on how to deal with the situation.
Put aside hard feelings. As difficult as it may be, now’s the time to lay aside negative or complicated feelings about your former spouse and consider your children’s best interests in this situation. To honestly decide whether you need to make any changes to the custody or visitation order, you’ll need to uncouple yourself from your feelings about your ex-spouse, so that these emotions won’t cloud your judgment.
Discuss the revising the plan with your co-parent. To the extent possible, parents should stick to the court-ordered custody agreement. But if the current plan seems unsafe or untenable under the circumstances, assess whether it’s feasible to create a temporary plan that keeps that lowers the risk of transmitting the virus to the children or either household.
Read More: Co-Parenting During Covid-19
For example, if one parent is at high risk for exposure to the virus (such as a medical professional), consider whether it makes sense of the other parent to take keep the children until the danger has passed. If temporarily changing the order makes sense for your family, ensure that the children remain in contact with the non-custodial parent during the high-risk period through facetime videos, telephone calls, or other means.
Ease fears. Nervous parents may feel more confident about sticking to the custody/visitation agreement if both parents agree to take strict safety precautions. Discuss steps both households agree to take to reduce the risk of transmission and make each parent feel more at ease. These may include not allowing visitors in the home when the children are present, deciding to keep the children inside, or observing stringent hygiene and social distancing practices.
Be honest. If you’re showing signs of the virus or have been exposed to someone who has it, you must inform your co-parent promptly and make arrangements to keep the children safe until you’re certain that you aren’t contagious.
Put your agreement in writing. Whatever temporary changes you and your ex make to the custody agreement, write them down, even if it’s just in an email exchange. Articulating the precise terms of the changes will help both parties to stay on the same page and serve as proof that both parties agreed to the changes.
Don’t violate the agreement. The coronavirus pandemic is not an excuse to break a custody/ visitation order. Parents can’t take their children out of the country without the co-parent’s permission, nor can they deny a co-parent access to the children that is granted by a custody order.
If your co-parent is violating the terms of the order or if you believe your co-parent is increasing your child’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus, contact one of our Singapore Divorce Lawyers as soon as possible.