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Holiday Child Visitation Solutions During a Pandemic

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Child Custody and Support NY

Dealing with the holidays after a divorce is difficult enough for Long Island families without the added stress of COVID-19, social distancing and quarantine mixed in. This year’s holiday season promises to be much different than those in the past, but what does that look like for families who can’t simply hunker down together? Here’s are some tips on how you can navigate quarantined holidays during or after a divorce.

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Decide Ahead of Time What the Child Visitation Plan Will Be

Ideally, you will be able to have a discussion with your ex well before the holidays and decide on a workable timesharing plan together. You may have done this prior to COVID-19, or this may be your first time creating a timesharing plan. Either way, be prepared for it to be a little different than what you’ve heard of or have experienced before.

For instance, you may need to arrange a holiday visitation with your child at a hotel if you have an elderly family member in your home. Or, you may need to scale down your usual extended family meal to immediate members only if your child’s other parent is considered an at-risk individual. These are all things that should be ironed out in advance, so there are hopefully no surprises later on.

Create a Backup Plan for Child Visitation

Good plans always have a backup, and in the case of COVID-19 holiday plans, it’s a really good idea to have one. It’s more likely now that something unexpected will occur and your original plans won’t be feasible. In the above case, say the at-risk parent contracts the coronavirus and ends up in the hospital with a severe case of COVID-19. You may need to be prepared to keep custody of your child for longer than you intended. Make sure you have some ideas on the back burner just in case things take a different turn.

Be Willing to Make Compromises to See Your Children on the Holidays

When working with your ex-spouse to create a holiday timesharing plan that works for everyone and gives your children time with both parents, be prepared to make some compromises. This was true prior to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and it’s even more critical to be willing to be flexible now that large family gatherings and parties aren’t recommended holiday activities this year.

For example, if you originally planned to have visitation with your child on Christmas Eve, but learn that you were exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus four days prior, you won’t be able to safely visit with your child at the agreed time. You’ll need to wait an additional ten days, or longer if you want to be extra cautious or you also contract the coronavirus. In this case, you could revise your plans to have a late New Year’s party. It’s not ideal, but compromise may be necessary for the safety of your child and yourself.

Utilize Technology to See Your Children when You Can’t Be There In Person

Zoom calls aren’t just for professionals who are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. You can also use it — or any other video call platform — to connect with family when you can’t be physically together. Whether you planned to spend time with your child virtually over the holidays ahead of time simply to reduce the chances of asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus, or you were exposed and have to quarantine at the last minute, technology can save the day.

You may want to have a chat room or video conference line set up in advance just in case you need to use it. If you have a large family, a conference room can be created and family members can log in and out as they have time. While opening gifts at 5:00 a.m. through a video screen is a little different than years past, you can still make the most out of virtual visitation during these uncertain times.

Get Help from an Experienced Long Island Divorce Lawyer

Arranging visitation during quarantined holidays is difficult enough if your ex is cooperative. If they’re not, things can become exponentially more challenging. Even in the midst of a pandemic, you should be able to spend quality time with your child during the holidays outside of any emergencies. If your child’s other parent is using the coronavirus as an excuse to make it more difficult for you to see your child or spend time with them during the holidays, you need the help of a seasoned Long Island family attorney. Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. at 631-923-1910 today for zealous legal representation.


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