Co-parenting options in Ohio during COVID-19

Ohio Governor Mike Dewine and Dr. Amy Acton recently extended his stay-at-home order for the state of Ohio due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order has resulted in the temporary closure of many Ohio businesses and has left many people with questions about what is and what is not allowed under the order.

In particular, a lot of people have questions about how best to keep their families safe during the stay-at-home order. In our latest legal clinic vlog, Kate Mozynski, our Northeast Ohio staff attorney, discusses co-parenting options during the pandemic.

For anyone who currently has children, keeping your children safe and keeping your family healthy is definitely the first priority. However, this can be significantly more complicated for many parents who currently have a shared parenting agreement. It’s important to note that Governor DeWine’s stay-at-home order does not directly affect current custody agreements. You should expect to follow the custody arrangement currently in place for you and your co-parent.

That being said, it’s important to have a conversation with your co-parent about creating a social distancing plan that can work for both of your households. For some families, this can be as easy as speaking with your co-parent about establishing rules during your parenting time. For example, it might be really helpful to discuss how you want to handle social visits during the pandemic and to broadly discuss what is in the best interest of your children. Ideally, if you have a good co-parenting relationship, You and your co-parent might be able to agree by yourselves on social distancing measures that both households will follow to keep your children safe.

However, not everyone has a good co-parenting relationship, and not everyone is taking Governor Dewine’s stay-at-home order as seriously as they should be. If you are in a situation in which one parent is refusing to social-distance or if your child or children have an underlying medical condition that may make them particularly susceptible to contracting COVID, you should speak to your child’s other parent and try and agree on a modified custody plan under the terms of your existing shared parenting plan. It’s best to first review the terms of your existing shared parenting plan to make sure that modifications to the plan are allowed. Many parenting plans often allow modifications to the plan based on a mutual agreement in writing by the parties.

If reaching a mutual agreement with your co-parent ultimately fails, and you’re not able to work out how you want to handle the stay-at-home order, it may be best to reach out to a family law attorney. In some cases, you may be able to obtain an emergency temporary child custody order. One of the attorneys at our legal clinic may be able to represent you if such a case arises.

You can reach out to our legal clinic by calling 855-LGBT-Law or by clicking here and filling out an intake form.