The spread of the Coronavirus throughout the state of Massachusetts has left people to adjust to stay-at-home orders. As a result, it has caused some uncertainty for families of divorce trying to maintain the agreements decided upon in their divorce settlement. This can include how to share custody of their child during this time. With families trying to figure out the right thing to do for their child’s safety during this time, it is important to keep in mind that both parents have their respective rights. Continue reading below to learn more and retain the services of an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney for assistance protecting these rights.
What Rights do Parents Have?
During divorce proceedings, parents and the court settle what rights and responsibilities are allowed moving forward when raising their children. This includes the following:
- The right to custody. This can be physical custody, legal custody, or both. Physical custody determines the parent that the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. Legal custody allows a parent the right to be involved in making important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
- The right to visitation. It is important to know that, even if a parent has just legal custody of their child, they are still allowed visitation rights. Parents can determine how this is done in their parenting plan.
- The right to support. Massachusetts requires both parents to financially support their children until the court decides it is no longer needed. This is done by mandatory child support payments made from the non-custodial parent to the custodial parent.
Are these Rights Valid During Coronavirus Times?
It is important to understand that while we are living in unprecedented times, a parent’s rights to their child does not change. It is understandable that a parent wants to protect the safety of their child, however, they cannot change a custody or visitation agreement on their own to do so. Instead, they require the permission of the other parent or the court. This means that if they do not want the child to see their other parent due to possible exposure to the Coronavirus, they need to come to an agreement with the other parent or request a modification with the court. A modification can allow a situation better suits the circumstances at hand. Until it is granted, both parents retain the same rights to their child as they always have.
It is also important to know that laws regarding child support are the same as well. Child support agencies are required by federal law to report any past-due payments. It is because of this that parents must still continue to make payments during this time. However, because many people are experiencing financial hardship, modifications can be requested for the payment amount or frequency to better fit the parent’s situation.
Contact our Firm
For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.