Coronavirus and Child Visitation

Do I still have to allow visitation since there is a “shelter in place order”?  The short answer is yes, you do. Assuming that there is a court order in place, you still have to follow that court order and allow the other parent their time with the child. Most South Carolina Family Courts are either closed or only holding emergency hearings. The court expects parents to be adults and always consider the safety and well-being of the child. This is no time to try to use your child as a “pawn” to punish the other parent.

If you use an excuse to withhold visitation, the other party can file a contempt of court action against you. Eventually the courts will reopen, and the case will be heard. Family Court Judges in South Carolina tend to be very harsh on parents that disobey court orders. You may end up in jail and you could even lose custody of your child. The bottom line is that child visitation is NOT affected by any shelter-in-place order or other order restricting movement issued because of COVID-19

It’s a Pandemic

Yes it is, and this is going to be hard enough on you and your child without causing further stress caused by confrontations with the other parent. It is likely that schools will be closed for the remainder of the first part of 2019 and some may not even reopen in the fall. Regardless, your child needs to continue his or her education at home. The Greenville County School Information System is updated on a daily basis and the teachers are continuing to work. It is important that both parents be sure that their child keeps up with his or her lessons and completes them in a timely manner.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if a parent has some of the symptoms of the Coronavirus?

As long as both of you are in agreement, you are free to vary whatever visitation, access and exchange methods works for your family. reasons you do not want your child to go with the other parent during the coronavirus crisis. The health and safety of your child is paramount. If someone in the other parent’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is waiting on test results for Coronavirus, then you should talk with the other parent about your concerns, and try to work out a solution that allows the child to stay safe and healthy. If the child has been diagnosed with or has been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, you are under an absolute duty to notify the other parent. While the virus does not effect children as much as it does adults, children are still dying, especially if they do not receive immediate treatment. If there is an agreement, be sure to confirm the agreement in writing so that you will have documentation.

What happens if I refuse visitation or to return the child?

Refusing to return the child or to allow visitation might be a valid option if you think the child is in imminent danger. However, you need to fully discuss your options with your attorney.

How do I calculate visitation since there is no school?

You continue to use the published school schedule for holidays and vacations.

How can I change the existing visitation order?

The only way to change an existing child custody order is to file for a modification, usually in the same court as the original order. You will have to show that there has been a substantial change of circumstances that justify the requested change.  



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