Child Custody & Visitation During COVID-19

    KNOXVILLE, TN, April 30, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ — Families are also trying to adjust their schedules as many people and children are home during the pandemic.

How do school closures affect parenting schedules?

The Administrative Office of the Courts, overseen by the Tennessee Supreme Court offers some guidance – please read below:

Custody & Child Visitation

In general, attorneys and parents are encouraged to follow the school-year calendar for custody on school and non-school days even if schools are closed.

Visitation Schedules – parents are encouraged to follow the school-year calendar for child custody on school and non-school days (even if schools are closed).

Exchange of children – the exchange of children is an exemption to the state’s Stay At Home order issued by the Governor. Parents should continue to exchange children on schedule unless other arrangements are agreed-upon or approved by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Emergency Proceedings – these proceedings related to emergency child custody or visitation orders may be conducted in-person. However, these hearings should be held via video conference whenever possible. If conducted in-person, social distancing measures should be strictly enforced.

Blanket Standing Orders – the Court discourages the use of these orders in child custody cases because of the need to address these matters individually or case-by-case.

Surrender of Parental Rights – parents who wish to voluntarily surrender their parental rights can do so in-person.

Visitation for children in DCS custody – like any parent-child visitation matter, each court with jurisdiction over visitation has the discretion to determine whether or how visitation should continue. As always, Judges must determine whether suspension or restriction of visitation involving children in DCS custody and / or foster care is appropriate and necessary. No DCS policy or DCS preference overrides a judicial order.

Should parents follow court orders and child exchanges during this pandemic?

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