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My Ex-Spouse Works in Healthcare and I'm Concerned

Katy Ellis and Jennie Wray

The current crisis that we are all navigating as a result of the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted normal operations in ways that we are all still trying to understand. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to any of the questions people have about what they should and should not be doing right now with regard to their children. However, as attorneys, we are doing our best to help you understand the rights and legal obligations you have.

Having one parent working in the healthcare industry right now adds another layer to decisions regarding how parenting time should be adjusted, if at all, during this crisis. Important considerations are the likelihood that the other parent has been exposed to COVID-19, the risk level of others in both households, and what reasonable alternatives exist for the exercise of parenting time during this crisis. According to the New York Times, “new data issued by the C.D.C. shows that nearly 40% of patients sick enough to be hospitalized were age 20-54. But the risk of dying was significantly higher in older people.”

One option that both parents may want to consider could include working together to mutually agree to temporarily suspend or reduce one parent’s time (especially with some way to make up that time later). Many of our healthcare workers are working harder than ever during this stressful time, and they may be willing to make some adjustments voluntarily while the crisis is ongoing both to protect their children from risk and to give themselves a bit of rest between shifts. On the other hand, they should certainly not be denied access to their own children just because they are working hard to protect the rest of us.

If you or your co-parent work in the healthcare industry, we are happy to assist in helping you navigate this crisis.

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