Kentucky families with divorced parents face a variety of challenges. In the past, it usually revolved around parents managing the family schedule of pick-ups and drop-offs as well as maintaining clear avenues of communication with an ex-spouse. It has gotten considerably more complicated and stressful in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The needs of each family are different, as are the demands of their jobs. Suddenly, it may not make sense that the children live with a medical professional or other employees who must still report for a public-facing duty. Many parents have worked out temporary solutions, but others wonder if their ex is taking advantage of this dire situation. Some are also concerned about the precautions (or lack thereof) exercised by the other parent.
State Supreme Court issues orders
The commonwealth’s highest court issued orders regarding parenting plans, generally stating that parents must continue to honor custody or visitation agreements issued by family court judges. There are, however, exceptions for honoring the agreements:
- A parent (or someone in their household) tests positive for the virus.
- A parent (or someone in their household) was informed that they were possibly exposed to the virus.
- A parent has traveled in the last 14 days to an area with a Centers for Disease Control Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice.
The parent is legally obligated to notify the other parent if any of the above circumstances have come to pass. This order is in place until April 24, but Kentucky could extend it as part of other precautions.
Families still struggle
Caution is in the best interests of the families as well as other citizens, but it can still be hard. Young children may miss their father or mother now, while high school seniors planning to move away for college realize that precious time together with family has already come to a close. Parents, on the other hand, may worry about the stability of the economy or may even currently find themselves out of work. With the Easter holiday just past, many are also missing grandparents quarantined in assisted living facilities or their homes.
Maintaining the priorities
Families need each other now more than ever. Even if it is not face-to-face, parents can use a video conferencing platform like Zoom, FaceTime on their phones, or share activities like watching a movie together in their separate residencies. Flexibility is the key in the present, but original agreements should resume as soon as the state announces it is safe to resume normal activities without social distancing. If there are disagreements about honoring the contract, it may make sense to contact a family law attorney to discuss the matter further.