E. Noreen Banks-Ware
Divorce, Child Custody, and the Quarantine: Your Questions Answered
Conflicting news reports, quarantine mandates, and health concerns can make it difficult for any spouse or parent who is going through a divorce or dealing with child custody to follow Georgia laws. However, regardless of the quarantine, parents must follow child custody laws or face legal penalties.
The good news is that someone who needs to move forward with a divorce or child custody case can still seek legal representation from a divorce lawyer in Lithonia Georgia. Law firms are providing full legal services remotely using online tools and resources.
Below is a quick FAQ guide that addresses the concerns of those going through a divorce or dealing with child custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Do We Still Have to Follow Court Orders for Child Custody Under the Quarantine?
The answer is yes. Child custody orders take priority over shelter-in-place rules in most situations. There are some exceptions to the rule. For instance, a parent may withhold a child or refuse to pick up a child under the following circumstances:
- A parent is exhibiting irresponsible parental behavior.
- A parent or child has symptoms or a confirmed case of COVID-19.
- A parent or child may be at high risk for COVID-19.
Before a parent makes the decision to deviate from a child custody arrangement, they may want to speak with their attorney, request a temporary arrangement with the other parent, and make sure they can verify their reasons for not honoring the original arrangement.
Can I Still Get a Divorce During the Quarantine?
The answer is yes. Courts in Georgia are still accepting petitions for divorce. In general, law firms, judges, and the legal system are still operating to keep cases moving forward. A judge may delay a case for a spouse or couple that requires a divorce hearing unless it is an emergency, in which case, a resolution may take a little longer.
Can We Still Establish a Parenting Plan During the Quarantine?
It depends. Even if both parties agree to a temporary suspension of a legal arrangement, they may both be in violation of the law based on the original arrangement. However, a judge may grant an emergency arrangement if one or both parents can establish that the circumstances require it.
Again, it is important to speak with an attorney and the other party before a parent deviates from a previous legal arrangement. Otherwise, they may face legal penalties from the courts.
Can I Force My Ex to Pay Child Support Or Spousal Support During the Quarantine?
It depends. If the other spouse is experiencing financial hardship due to the quarantine, they may be unable to provide child support or spousal support. For instance, if the other party’s company shut down and they are unable to draw income, paying child support may be logistically impossible.
If the other party is trying to make partial payments, then holding them accountable legally for the full amount may be difficult during the quarantine. Once the quarantine is over, a person may consult their attorney on the best way to recover lost child or spousal support from the other party.
Should I Hire an Attorney During the Quarantine?
During the quarantine, families have used this time to take care of personal business and legal obligations. This is the perfect time to consult a divorce lawyer in Lithonia, Georgia. Attorneys are either working from home or isolating themselves in their offices.
Law firms are offering online services, video conferencing, and cloud-based platforms for clients to access. Some attorneys are offering flexible payments or other incentives to help clients. Someone going through a divorce or a child custody dispute should not hesitate to seek legal services from a Georgia law firm.
Contact a Lithonia Divorce Attorney Today
Divorce and child custody battles are always difficult. The current COVID-19 quarantine has created new challenges for parents and spouses. To help clients, E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC is offering remote legal services and flexible payment plans throughout the pandemic.
Call the law firm to get a free case assessment from a divorce lawyer in Lithonia, Georgia. Services are also offered for clients in Decatur, Conyers, Covington, McDonough, and Lawrenceville, Georgia.