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In: Child Custody0

Custody Battles Continue to Rise with Pandemic and Vaccine

Parents involved in child custody disputes during the pandemic are finding they are continuing with the vaccine rollout.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a number of challenges to families in Tennessee, and throughout the country. For parents who have gotten a divorce, it has presented even more difficulties. While Tennessee was in lockdown and businesses were closed, the pandemic posed issues relating to child custody exchanges and more. For divorced parents, the vaccine rollout seemed promising but now, many are finding that even this ray of hope poses its own set of issues. If you are co-parenting with your former spouse, below are some things you should know about child custody disputes during this time.

Child Custody Issues During the Pandemic

The pandemic has raised many child custody issues, with one of the biggest being whether or not parents are still bound by the court orders outlined in their divorce decree. For example, one parent may know the other is not complying with social distancing guidelines or shelter-in-place orders. For this reason, they may want to withhold child visitation from that parent. Or, one parent may work as a nurse on the front lines, causing the other parent to worry they or their child may become exposed to the virus.

Regardless of the concern, all parents must comply with the child custody orders issued by the court. While the law does recognize that circumstances may change, it is also clear that the only way to change a custody order is to obtain an official modification from a family law judge. Without a modification, anyone who violates an existing order may be found in contempt of court, or worse.

Child Custody Issues Surrounding the Vaccine

Although the vaccine rollout has provided the hope millions of Americans desperately needed, it has also posed problems for divorced parents. The biggest one of these is when parents disagree about whether their child should be vaccinated. If one parent has sole legal custody, they have the right to make important decisions for their child, including whether or not they receive a vaccine.

When parents share legal custody, or there is a dispute regarding vaccines that otherwise has to go before a court, there are a few factors a judge will consider. These include:

  • Evidence supporting, or against vaccinations either parent can present,
  • The parent that has made important decisions for the child in the past, and
  • Religious beliefs

It is important to note that while a judge will take many factors into consideration, a parent’s personal preference will probably not carry much weight. When bringing a dispute to court, it is important to have strong evidence that supports your case.

Call My Tennessee Family Law Office for Help With Your Modification

While the pandemic and vaccine rollout have presented unique problems for parents of divorce, you can petition the court for a change when needed. I am Judy A. Oxford, an experienced Franklin family lawyer who can help you present evidence to prove your case and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. If you need to petition for a change, or defend such a petition, call me today at 615-791-8511 or fill out the online form to schedule a consultation so I can review your case.

 

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