Q: How has COVID-19 affected child custody and support issues?
A: COVID-19 is having a significant impact on divorced and separated families. Many parents are concerned about wellbeing of their children while in the custody of the other parent, and want assurances that health and safety measures are being observed. COVID-19 is also forcing families to navigate unprecedented schooling decisions, sometimes with an adversarial partner. Parents have to address and resolve disputes related to remote learning and alternative education options.
It is critical to be able to acquire and share information during the pandemic, and make necessary adjustments to custody and educational arrangements to ensure that the needs of their children are being met. If the parents are joint legal custodians and they cannot agree on joint decisions related to educational issues, the court may need to provide the ultimate decision.
Also due to COVID-19, many people are experiencing job and income loss, impacting ability to pay child support, alimony and other support obligations. Parties faced with a substantial loss of income may need temporary relief through modification of a court order. On the flip side, parties who rely on receiving financial support may need to seek the protection of the court as there could be significant negative financial effects from failing to receive the support. Both payor and support recipients often need to act quickly and in compliance with statutory deadlines in order to preserve the ability to modify or enforce support orders.
Honors & Recognition:
Howard Soypher, Deborah Webb, and Rhian McGrath recognized in Best Lawyers of America, 2021. Howard Soypher recognized by Best Lawyers as 2021 Lawyer of the Year, Family Law, D.C. and Deborah Webb, 2021 Mediator of the Year in Family Law, D.C. All partners recognized as top family law lawyers by SuperLawyers.