High Net Worth Divorce
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Domestic Abuse

Can my ex use fear of coronavirus as an excuse to not visit the children?

Q: We have a divorce agreement that states visitation clearly. During the NYS pause order, my ex has not followed the visitation advising that he does not feel it is safe for the kids to come to him (reasons being that he goes out for groceries and to the store etc). However he is in a county with low cases and I live in Westchester and also go out for essential shopping. Both of us are working remotely from home. We both have our parents living with us.
Is it a reasonable excuse for him not to come visit the kids during this time because of coronavirus fears? No one in either household has been ill nor has underlying health conditions.
I’ve also offered to let him use my home (as I am staying with my parents with the kids) if he doesn’t want to expose his parents to the kids or vice versa. But he says that is an inconvenience to him.
It has been exactly 8 weeks since he’s visited them and he is supposed to be seeing them weekly.

A: You MAY be able to file an order to show cause seeking to enforce the visitation order. During the Corona shutdown, it remains in the discretion of the court whether to accept the filing or not. In the meanwhile, I’ve advised clients/potential clients to document in correspondence that neither you or anyone in your household has any known risk factors, nor has been diagnosed or directed to quarantine or self-isolate. Document that, to your knowledge, the same is the case on his end. If he’s not willing to comply with the order as written, see if there’s ANY alternative he’d agree to (e.g., short day visits, you going to his house for the visit with PPE, etc.). Schedule a consult with a White Plains Child Custody attorney for a full assessment.

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