Are Parents’ Rights Still the Same During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, people in the state of New Jersey are left to adjust their lives to stay-at-home orders for the foreseeable future. For families of divorce, this has thrown a wrench into many arrangements that were made during the proceedings. This can include families wondering how to self isolate within their homes when they share custody of their children. With families trying to determine the right thing to do for their children during this time, it is important to remember that both parents have rights. Continue reading below to learn more and retain the services of an experienced New Jersey family law attorney if you need assistance protecting your rights. 

What Rights do Parents Have?

When going through a divorce, parents determine the rights and responsibilities they have while raising their child. This includes the following:

  • The right to custody. This includes physical custody, legal custody, or both. Physical custody determines the parent that the child lives and spends most of their time with. Legal custody gives a parent influence over the important decisions that are made regarding the child’s upbringing.
  • The right to visitation. Even if a parent only has legal custody, they can still have visitation rights. Parents can set up a parenting plan in different ways that allows them to both be able to see their child.
  • The right to support. New Jersey requires both parents to financially support their child until the court deems it is no longer necessary. This is done through child support payments made from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.

Are these Rights Valid During Coronavirus Times?

While we are currently living in unprecedented times due to the Coronavirus, the rights that a parent has to their child does not change. It is understandable that a parent wants to prioritize the safety of their child. However, they are not able to change a custody agreement or visitation schedule without the permission of the other parent or the court to do so. This means that if a parent does not want their child to see their other parent due to fear of exposure, they are required to reach an agreement with that parent or request a modification with the court. Until it is granted, both parents retain the same rights to their child as they always have. 

In addition to this, it is important to remember that the laws remain the same when dealing with child support as well. Federal law requires child support agencies to report any payments that are past-due, which requires parents to keep making payments. Due to the financial hardship that is ongoing during this time, parents who are struggling to make their payments can also request a modification. This can allow a change in the amount or frequency of the payments so that they better suit the parent’s financial situation.

Contact our Firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters of divorce and family law in New Jersey, contact The Law Offices of Paone, Zaleski & Murphy to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.