Custody and Covid-19


While Georgia’s Governor Kemp has yet to issue a statewide “stay at home” order, most of the hardest hit counties such as Fulton, Cobb, Gwinnett, etc…, have made declarations of emergency. These declarations have stay at home provisions which may give rise to custodial issues.One of the most frequent questions we have been receiving during this covid-19 pandemic, can I deny court ordered visitation due to the “stay at home” order in my county. Unfortunately, the answer is it depends.When a county declares a state of emergency, the county issues an order or multiple orders instructing citizens how to conduct themselves. The county may inadvertently issue orders which could potentially conflict with custodial orders already put in place.

So the first question is, does your county’s current “stay at home” order conflict with the ability of either parent to pick up and drop off of the children for visitation?   The current answer as of March 27, 2020 is no.

After reviewing most of the “stay at home” orders currently in place in the State of Georgia, we found that these orders have provisions allowing persons to travel to care for another person. The courts would likely find that this traveling provision allows parents to travel within Georgia to pick up and drop off their children for parenting time.

Therefore, during this time, if you share custody of your minor children pursuant to a court order, with another person who resides within the state of Georgia, the court would likely find custodial time should continue as ordered.

There may be other factors that the court may consider when determining if visitation was withheld if violation of the parenting plan but for the purposes of this blog we are solely looking at the competing orders.

© KF Law, LLC 2020. This article is of a general nature. Nothing in this article is intended to provide legal advice. Every situation is different, and the laws in every jurisdiction are different. This article does not constitute the creation of an attorney/client relationship.

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