Q: What, if anything, changes about visitation during this stay at home order?
My ex husband and I have a court order where he gets visits with the kids every other weekend. He had not seen the kids since sept 14th 2019 of his own accord. He even moved to PA a few months back without telling me until very recently and without updating his address with the courts. Our kids are 6 and 5. Our 5 year old is special needs and has had respiratory issues with every sickness he’s had- needing breathing treatments and steroids. Him getting Covid-19 is a very real and serious concern. Suddenly, my ex husband wants to see the kids. I’ve always followed our court order but I do not think it’s safe for the kids to go with him. He’s traveling from out of state, I have no idea how serious he’s been taking the orders for staying safe, and he doesn’t seem concerned about our kid’s health. He also doesn’t have a residence here, so he’d be exposing the kids further with more people. What can I do here?
A: If you refuse, he could file with the court to have you held in contempt. You would then explain your reasons to the judge, and the judge would decide if what you did was in the best interest of the children. There is no way to predict how judges will deal with all the problems caused by the virus lockdown. The judge might dismiss it, or might give the father make-up time and order you to pay his attorney fees. But courts in OH are suspended, and it will take some time to work off the backlog once they re-open. Some courts are handling some business remotely. Use the Find a Lawyer tab and retain a local family law attorney to advise what local courts are doing. The attorney can review all the facts of your situation and advise you. Consider filing with the court to change the visitation since he has had such little contact with the children. You could also ask for an increase in child support.
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