Child Custody and Time-Sharing, In An Age of Social Distancing

Posted by Josh Valentine | Dec 16, 2020

As COVID-19 rates continue to climb across North Carolina, whether you're in Charlotte proper or the Charlotte metropolitan area, like Gastonia, you may be wondering how to address child custody and safety across your household and your ex's household. In fact, the North Carolina Family Court Advisory Commission issued updated recommendations in August. What do those recommendations suggest? Let's take a look.

State Guidance

The document begins by pointing out that the goal is to provide as much consistency and stability as possible "in the best interest of the child(ren)."

With COVID-19 still ongoing, there are many instabilities in the children's lives, from changes in schooling, to not being able to see friends without social distancing, to seeing people with masks whenever they come with you to the grocery or the doctor's office. Stability is vital for children in normal circumstances, and during the pandemic, it's even more important to follow that guidance.

According to the document, it's important to note that "Parents should encourage children to wear a mask in public, as recommended by public health and government officials. If following these orders and guidelines is not possible, parenting time should be conducted virtually via videoconferencing (e.g., WebEx, Skype, or FaceTime) or by telephone."

So if you're not possible to meet in public with a mask, then parenting time should still occur; however, it should happen using videoconferencing. Keeping in touch with your children is more important now than ever.

Even if you're not happy with your ex's decisions, it's important to know that "A parent is not permitted to deny parenting time based upon the other parent's unwillingness to discuss their precautionary measures taken, or a parent's belief that the other parent's precautions are insufficient." If you are concerned, consider speaking with an attorney and going to a judge to adjust the agreement.

Professional Recommendations

If you're interested in reading more from a social worker's perspective, this article raises some good points. The biggest takeaway may be that the communication between you and your ex is critical to moving along as best as possible with the shifting COVID-19 cases. During a crisis like this, your children need emotional support from both of their parents. 

As you and your ex consider child custody and navigating the pandemic, there are many factors to consider. If you'd like help tackling these factors, Caulder & Valentine is here to assist you. Give us a call at 704.470.2440 or contact us online to discuss the specifics of your case.

About the Author

Josh Valentine

You could say Josh has a God-given ability for sustaining long-term relationships. He and his wife first met in elementary school and went to Gardner Webb University (GWU) together, where they tied for number 1 in their class. Then, they both started law school on the same day of their graduation and got married during their first semester. He has also known his law partner Blake Caulder since Kindergarten. Theirs is the perfect partnership. “He’s the brake; I am the accelerator,” Josh says. Both Josh and his wife attended an innovative program at Charlotte Law School that allowed them to complete law school in two years instead of the typical three. His wife graduated and passed the North Carolina bar at age 20, becoming one of the youngest attorneys in the state. He readily admits she’s smarter than him. Of course, Josh went on to pass the North Carolina State Bar himself and later the South Carolina State Bar. While in school, he was Associate Editor of the Law Review and received accolades like Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society membership, Order of the Crown, Pro Bono Honors, CALI Awards (highest grade). In his career as a lawyer, he has been admitted to the United States Federal Court for the Western District of North Carolina, is a member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys, and completed training for DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing. Josh has also been named to the Top 40 Under 40 for Criminal Defense by The National Trial Lawyers, the Business North Carolina 2019 Legal Elite for Criminal Defense, and the 10 Best Attorneys for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys three years in a row (2016, 2017, and 2018). Community involvement has been important to Josh all his life. In high school, he participated in building a Holocaust museum that has become internationally regarded. He and his wife are actively engaged in animal rescue, which currently means seven cats and two kittens. He served in prison ministry and assisted with fundraiser banquets there, and he provides pro bono and reduced fee legal services to those in need. As if all of that weren’t enough, Josh also mentors high risk youth and helps with his church’s youth group. He participates in other community volunteer projects involving construction, remodeling, drywall, painting, and landscaping. He’s an active student of the Bible and has traveled to Israel, Brazil, and Europe for mission work. No one can say Josh isn’t a well-rounded individual. In his spare time, he likes to play softball, basketball, and tennis, and he can play the piano and trombone. Sometimes on weekends, believe it or not, he enjoys pouring and finishing concrete with friends who own a concrete and grading business. In his law practice, Josh has made it a point to develop positive relationships with officers, clerks, and district attorneys, which has proven invaluable in delivering positive results for his clients. It’s important to him to both listen to his clients and fight for them. Law enforcement officers have important responsibilities to keep our communities safe and uphold the law, but one of the responsibilities of attorneys is to make sure officers do their job correctly. Josh considers it his job to hold them accountable for their actions. Josh is a person of deep faith. He knows that the established order of our universe and strength of America’s Judeo-Christian influenced court system is built on God’s word. His passion to serve each client with innovation, excellence and integrity is a byproduct of his faith. When asked why he became a lawyer, Josh says, “All through my life, I have personally witnessed family members and very close friends endure divorce, child custody battles, bankruptcy, civil lawsuits, and even fraudulent criminal accusations. I both saw and experienced the stress such events can place on an individual, and I realized that everyone, at some point in their life, needs hope, comfort, and encouragement. In each one of those situations, the person who was best situated to provide that vital support was their lawyer. So that’s why I became an attorney. I understand what you are going through, and I’m here to help you. Our office is focused on meeting your needs and guiding you through what may be the most difficult time of your life.” Education: Charlotte School of Law J.D., Magna Cum Laude Class Rank – 21 of 328 Associate Editor of Charlotte School of Law Law Review Certification and Concentration in Employment Law Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honor Society Order of the Crown Pro Bono Honors CALI Awards (Highest Grade)—Lawyering Process I and Contracts I Full Scholarship Gardner-Webb University B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude Distinguished Senior Student Award – Highest GPA Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honorary Society Bar Admissions: North Carolina State Bar