How do I handle child custody during shelter in place mandates?
According to recent orders from the Bexar County District Courts, all parties are required to maintain visitation and possession orders as previously written. That means, yes, the non-possessory parent has the right to have their normal weekend/weekday visitation.
Will I get fined if I get out to take my children to my ex-spouse?
During these unique and unprecedented times, we must believe that common sense will prevail. A simple explanation to the police officer who stops you should be sufficient to explain why you are driving on public roadways during this time. It would be a good idea for you to have a certified copy of your current visitation order with you at all times if there is any question about why you are not in your home. If you do not have a certified copy of your current order, make plans to go to the courthouse records department to obtain one as soon as this “shelter in place” order is rescinded.
What do I do if I believe my ex-spouse is exposing my children to harm?
Try to communicate with your ex-partner about your concerns for your child. You should already be aware of where your ex-partner lives and with whom. If there is anyone in the other parent’s home who may expose your child to the virus, try to make an agreement for your child to stay with you until the danger passes. However, make sure the agreement is in written form (email, text) in case it is denied later. Be conscious of the other parent’s need to be reassured about the child’s welfare and arrange facetime, skype, or other electronic communication with your child and the other parent. If all else fails, call your local law enforcement and request a “welfare” check.
What do I do if I don’t have work for child support payments?
Please visit the following website for the Attorney General of the State of Texas: www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/child-support/covid19.
Understand that money may be tight in both parents’ households. Try to communicate with your child’s other parent to express your current situation. If you are unable to come to an agreement, use your common sense: what would you do if you and your child’s other parent were still living together during this time period? Everyone would tighten their belt and do with less. Do the same thing even though you are separated, Send in to the Child Support Disbursement Unit a payment of as much as you can afford ($25.00 a week, $50;00 a week). It may not seem like much, but some payment is better than no payment. The fact that you have taken the time and effort to make a minimal payment will show the Court, should there be an enforcement action later, that you at least recognized your responsibility to your child and did the best you could.