My wife is ill. How long should I wait before letting her near our kids?
I cannot provide you with legal guidance specific to your own circumstances, as I am licensed in only one state. However, I can provide some general information and tips to help you navigate this issue during this difficult time.
You are off to a good start in your situation. The first concern should be the safety and health of the children. If you are assured that you can take proper precautions, such as sanitizing surfaces, frequent hand-washing, and other measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, then you may be considering whether you or your former spouse may encounter any legal obstacles in pursuing any course of action.
If this is the case, you should first consult any existing court order relevant to your children. You always should conform to the order to the best of your ability, even in times like these. In fact, some states have issued orders preventing parents from varying from their court ordered possession schedules even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Be sure to check your state government’s website to see if any orders of this like have been issued.
One course of action you could pursue, is by seeking the agreement of your former spouse to trade some time with the children while your wife is recovering. This may be possible if your court order allows you and your spouse to have possession “at any times mutually agreed in advance.” In order to ensure no future issues arise from such an exchange of time, keep record of your communications with your former spouse on this subject – try to communicate via email or text message rather than phone to keep clear record.
If your former spouse refuses to allow the children to be present while your wife is recovering, out of fear they may contract some illness from her, there are a few options you may be able to exercise. First, and most simply, if the children are scheduled to come to you for a weekend or other short period of time, consider taking them to visit your grandparents (with the consent of your former spouse), or taking them for a day trip while your wife remains at home recovering.
Alternatively, consider informing your former spouse of any state orders in place requiring that existing court orders continue to be adhered to during this time. If she still refuses to allow the children to visit, keep record of her refusals. It may be time to consult an attorney.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.