You’ve Got Questions. We’ve Got Answers.
The rapid onset of restrictions and recommendations resulting in the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic is particularly troubling for parents whose children travel between two households. Answers are not being provided by government agencies, doctors or the courts. So a clear direction can be hard to obtain. The pandemic is affecting everything from making decisions for children to sharing time and arranging exchanges, to the ability to pay child support.
We are working with experts to keep our clients informed
At Naimi & Cerceo Family Law our experienced family law team is staying up to date on these issues while things continue to change rapidly. We are participating in conversations with local judges and psychologists. We are discussing these issues with other practitioners through forums facilitated by the State Bar of Nevada and Clark County Bar Association. We are monitoring the advice of recognized national associations like the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. We also are communicating with attorneys in communities that are experiencing greater travel restrictions so that we can appropriately plan for what likely is coming in the near future.
Parents: Follow parenting court orders, but be flexible if possible
Parents should follow all CDC, local and state guidelines regarding protecting the health of your children as well as your own health. Minimize your risk of contracting the virus and do the same for your children. The logistics of sharing time with children between two households become exponentially more complicated once someone within either household contracts or becomes exposed to the virus.
Most lawyers are telling their clients to follow their current court order but also be flexible when reasonable and necessary. We know that this is easier said than done. For example, what do you do if the other parent is saying that the current school closure constitutes spring break and therefore, they have custody of the child(ren) until school resumes? Or, what if one parent is exercising social distancing and the other is not? Parents may also have disagreements about how they should be handling issues such as travel, playdates, and e-learning.
At Naimi & Cerceo Family Law, our family law attorneys have many years of experience and can help you make reasonable decisions about when to be creative and flexible with current parenting time orders and other parenting decisions. While disputes may not be decided by a judge for weeks or even months, it is important to remember that actions today will likely have consequences tomorrow.
Child support can be modified due to hardship
As the crisis continues, many families will also be affected by layoffs and other changes in income. In Nevada, a court can modify child support based on certain changes in circumstances, but only retroactive to the date that a petition to modify is filed with the court. Might this rule be changed due to the current crisis? That is a question yet to be answered but until it is, a parent’s best bet is to consult with an attorney now about how to address this reduction in income.
As I am writing this blog, the government is working on a stimulus package to help Americans survive financially during this crisis. Many questions will arise about how the receipt of benefits will affect child-related financial obligations. In addition, with cash payments on the table for individuals and children, how will those be shared between divorced parents? We are following these developments closely and will be equipped to advise our clients on how to handle these payments when they are received.
Contact us with questions
Every issue involving your child(ren) is unique. If you have questions about child custody, visitation and/or child support, please contact us. Whether you have a custody order, but the other parent is not following it, or you have lost your means of income, but have a child support obligation; we can help. We look forward to guiding you through this unique and troubling crisis. Our family law team is available by telephone, videoconference, or e-mail. Please, please feel free to contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or on our website to schedule a remote consultation. We are here to help you.
– Jason Naimi