There might be issues that come up regarding the possession and access to your children during the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter in place order. Here is information that might help you.
The Supreme Court of Texas has issued several emergency orders that applies to the court orders already in place regarding our children.
The first order was regarding spring break – even if schools call the stay at home order an extension of spring break, if it is your spring break with the kids, you have to return them to the other parent at the conclusion of spring break according to the school calendar.
The second order was regarding existing orders and decrees – all orders shall be followed as written. For family court orders that means that all orders regarding possession and access to children stay in place. So, parents must exchange their kids for possession and access just like the order dictates. There is no excuse like we can't follow the parenting plan because of the shelter in place order.
There can be exceptions to strictly following the parenting plan. One example might be if one parent has confirmation that they have the virus thereby putting the children in danger if they were to be near that parent. But since the courts are closed, we cannot get decisions from the judges regarding what is ok and what is not. Those issues must be battled when the courts open again.
The third order states that parents should follow the normal school schedule with questions regarding visitation and access. With that in mind, if you are to exchange children at the beginning of school and the end of school, then you should keep doing that.
Remember that if you and the other parents can agree to a different access schedule and/or a different pick up and drop off time and place you can always do that. Your order should have language in place stating that if both parties agree, you can deviate from the court orders regarding possession and access to your children.
My name is Anita Cutrer and I am a board-certified family lawyer. For help with your family law matter please call us at 817-285-2855 or send us an email [email protected].