It’s fair to say that joint custody is a hard won battle. After all, most custody arrangements include some sort of division on parental obligations. Compromise is healthy for functioning joint custody arrangements. But, how exactly does a custody hand-off work during a pandemic? The focus of our article today is to shed light on how the coronavirus may impact your joint custody.

Remember the times where you could just switch custody days at will? That was a great benefit of joint custody. Notice the past tense. The coronavirus is reshaping the world with every infection. Children are now home schooled and confused about current events. They can’t see their friends or go to the park. Even worse, what if one parent is an essential worker? Who decides if that parent should see the child? The past few weeks has redefined the way that parents view the safety of their children. Do joint custody arrangements even apply anymore?

The information provided in this article should not be construed as legal advice. Every parental agreement is subject to the provisions of the law they incorporate. As a rule, seek personalized legal advice prior to altering any legal arrangement. At Thompson Law, we seek to protect the families and children through family law. If you are in need of legal services, contact us today.

The Hand-Off

Currently, our government states that we should perform social distancing in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. That is completely reasonable. Now, that has expanded to mandatory stay-at-home orders. Limiting the contact with people outside of your home is a necessity. This includes other family members. Surely, the news has talked about how doctors sleep outside, or how a husband can only see his wife through a glass barrier. Protective measures mean hard choices. Joint custody may just be one of those hard choices.

Traditionally, joint custody arrangements include the hand-off. For those who haven’t practiced this, the hand-off is where the co-parents meet to trade off child custody. The child transfers from the mom’s house to the dad’s, or vice versa. Consider the rules of quarantine. See the issue? Joint custody essentially breaks every pandemic rule given through a single meeting permitted and protected by family law. Yet, co-parents are making sacrifices for the sake of safety.


Compromise. It is the ideal that awarded your joint custody. It is also may cause you to violate it. There needs to be a meeting of the minds between co-parents. In order to protect the health of everyone in the family, a child may need to remain in a single household.

Consider the benefits. When co-parents speak amicably about the safety of the family, the choice will keep the child in one household. This eliminates the hand-off.  Eliminates possible contamination. Sets up the child for educational success through the use of routine and stability. And, it keeps in line with the aspects of quarantine until it ends.

Consider the alternative. If joint custody continues as usual, the risk of contracting coronavirus increases dramatically. This confuses the child over what they can and cannot do during a quarantine. Parents do not always enforce education uniformly.

The list could go on, but what is listed should be enough to reconsider certain custody exchanges if possible. An emotional aspect should be considered as well. At first, parents may be against the idea of compromising for one household. Have this conversation with compassion and understanding of the other parent’s economical and career situation. The child is not the only one affected by the coronavirus. If a compromise over joint custody can be may, perhaps it should.

At Thompson Law, we are here to help you deal with the legal issues involving your family or business. If you or a loved one need help with a legal issue, contact us today. We are happy to help.