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COVID-19 and Custody/Visitation

SCOKY Emergency Order Regarding Custody and Parenting Time

On March 27, 2020, the Supreme Court of Kentucky issued Emergency Order 2020-14 regarding parenting time and timesharing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, that Order states that exisiting custody and visitation orders are still in effect. The Court recognized that reasonable accomodations must be made to account for extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19.

Emergency Order 2020-14 details certain circumstances in which a court order might be considered temporarily modified, such as when a parent tests postive for COVID-19. The full text of the Emergency Order is available here.

Current clients should contact their assigned advocate with questions about their custody orders and Emergency Order 2020-14.

Top 5 Things to Know About COVID-19 and Custody and Visitation

  1. Courts are only having hearings for emergencies. Custody and visitation disagreements are not emergencies, except when the child/ren are in serious danger.
  2. If an order has been entered about custody and visitation, it must be followed unless this is a valid and real reason to think allowing visitation will seriously endanger the child/ren.
  3. If a party violates a court order and the judge does not agree there was a serious danger, the judge can order contempt. Contempt can carry a 180 day jail sentence and fines of $500. Judges can also give the other party make-up time.
  4. It is okay to make changes to the visitation schedule or exchange locations if both parties agree. Any changes should be agreed to in writing (text messages are okay). Keep the written agreement for your records.
  5. If a party or the child/ren are sick or have medical conditions that make them especially vulnerable, work together to make sure everyone stays healthy and save.

If you need legal help with custody or visitation:

Contact Kentucky Legal Aid. You may apply for services by calling (270) 782-5740.