gavel on judge's benchThis is the next post in a series of articles discussing how parents should handle child custody and visitation disagreements during the pandemic in Las Vegas, Nevada. My previous post emphasized the importance of avoiding self-help when a custody dispute arises. Co-parents should make every effort to resolve their disputes by being flexible when COVID-related disagreements arise. When they cannot do so, many parents simply refuse to comply with their custody order and take matters into their own hands. A parent who does not follow a court-ordered schedule may be subject to enforcement actions, contempt of court charges, or have their custody rights reduced. Instead of engaging in self-help, it may be necessary to involve the Clark County Family Court to resolve the matter. This post will discuss the circumstances under which a parent may need to initiate legal action to resolve a visitation or other custody dispute related to a COVID-19 disagreement. If you need assistance then contact my office to speak with a lawyer.

Las Vegas parents should attempt to resolve custody disputes on their own before involving the Court

As we continue to navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, co-parents throughout the Las Vegas area are facing new challenges when it comes to custody and visitation. Changes in school schedules, remote learning, working from home, and safety requirements are among the many disruptions to our normal routines. Like everything else, many families have had to make adjustments to their visitation schedules to accommodate these changes, often leading to disputes between parents regarding their existing custody order. While it may be necessary to involve the Court to seek a resolution in extreme cases, it is not appropriate to initiate legal action in every instance. Whenever possible, parents should attempt to resolve disagreements on their own through compromise and flexibility. This is particularly true when minor problems arise that may be solved by temporary or practical modifications to an existing order. For instance, issues such as adjusting drop-off time during the school week to accommodate a remote learning schedule or rescheduling a weekend visit if a parent is required to quarantine should be resolved by parents out of Court. The Judge will not look favorably upon parents who are unwilling to compromise on minor squabbles and use the Court’s resources unwisely.

Court involvement may be necessary to resolve a legitimate COVID-related custody dispute

When co-parents have a serious dispute over their custody arrangement related to the pandemic that cannot be resolved between themselves, legal action may be the only option. As stated above, only legitimate pandemic-related disagreements such as issues concerning a child’s safety or major custodial decisions should be brought before the Court. For example, a mother is concerned that her child’s father is too irresponsible to keep their child safe from COVID exposure. She decides to seek a modification to their custody order giving her sole physical custody until vaccines are widely available. If she has no evidence of specific risks to the child’s safety when visiting the father, the Court may believe her position is unreasonable. If she can demonstrate that the father’s care is putting the child in danger, such as his refusal to wear masks or allow the child to do so, openly attending large gatherings with the child, etc., the Judge may consider her request.

If you need assistance with a custody dispute and you are not sure whether to initiate legal action, contact my office to schedule a consultation. I will review your case and can assist you with the appropriate next steps, which may involve settlement discussions, mediation, or filing a lawsuit. My office is dedicated to assisting Las Vegas families with custody, visitation, and divorce matters. Contact us today to speak with an attorney.