The COVID19 crisis has parents scared for the safety of their children. Although it is true that children appear to handle the virus better (in fact, no child under the age of 9 has apparently died from it) it is still a concern, particularly when the infection rate is two or three times that of flu. The concern is not simply for the children, but as an effort to lower the infection rate, social distancing is the only tool we really have.

That being said, the same people who are withholding children are going shopping, going to parks and beaches, have other people who are coming and going. That means that unless that parent is actually sheltering in place, as my clients are doing, they may well be facing contempt charges when the courts reopen. If I were a parent in this situation, I would enact a two week on/off custody schedule so that each parent could determine no infection, which is in line with the CDC recommendation.

Bottom line: be reasonable. Kids need both parents and eventually this crisis will end. You don’t want to be the parent seen as using this to make a power play. If you really are engaged in social distancing, prepare to prove it. It won’t be hard.