Parenting Time and Child Custody Guidelines for Oregon Parents
It’s fair to say that 2020 posed significant challenges to individuals, families, schools, and businesses. For Oregon parents, navigating parenting time and child custody matters may have become increasingly complex. Suddenly, parents faced a number of new questions, such as: Who handles my child’s online learning? Is my ex-spouse adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to reduce exposure? What happens if I lost my job due to the pandemic and I can no longer afford my child support payment? The Oregon State Family Law Advisory Committee (SFLAC) recently issued several guidelines for parents to help them navigate this difficult time. Here are a few key takeaways from their recommendations.
Parenting Time Considerations
As much as possible, parenting time should proceed as normal. However, if your parenting plan explicitly states that parenting time must occur in a public space, you may need to make some adjustments in order to maintain social distancing best practices. For instance, meeting at a large park or on a wide trail could be a good option for you. If such arrangements are not feasible, parenting time should take place by phone or video conference. Supervised parenting time should continue as much as possible, but you may need to find an alternate supervisor or schedule parenting time via video conference if your assigned supervisor is unavailable.
Maintaining Transparent and Honest Communication
Many divorced parents may find themselves disagreeing over efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Perhaps you worry about your ex-spouse’s unwillingness to wear a mask or avoid social gatherings, or you worry that their status as an essential worker puts them—and your child—at greater risk. It’s important to note that, according to SFLAC guidelines, “a parent is not permitted to deny parenting time based upon the other parent’s unwillingness to discuss their precautionary measures taken, or belief that the other parent’s precautions are insufficient.” As much as possible, try to voice your concerns with your ex and keep your communications open, honest, and frequent.
Scheduling Makeup Parenting Time
Should COVID-19 exposure or government orders disrupt your parenting plan in some way, you should still attempt to schedule makeup parenting time when you can. Now more than ever, children need to feel secure and stable; making sure they can still enjoy quality time with each parent is essential to helping them feel safe. Through collaborative efforts and open communication, you and your ex-spouse can continue to support and care for your child during this challenging time.
Questions about parenting time or child custody in the Portland area? Reach out to the trusted and compassionate legal team at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today by calling (503) 233-8868.