By: Leslie Barrows
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Emergency Order on Possession and Access Schedules During COVID-19 Pandemic
Possession and Access Schedules Not Affected by School Closures
Governor Abbott declared a state of disaster in all 254 counties in Texas in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Individually, our local independent school districts extended spring break and temporarily suspended classes, some for several weeks. The Governor issued a COVID-19 emergency order regarding court-ordered possession and access schedules.
The order states in pertinent part:
“For purposes of determining a person’s right to possession of and access to a child under a court-ordered possession schedule, the original published school schedule shall control in all instances. Possession and access SHALL NOT be affected by the school’s closure that arises from an epidemic or pandemic, including what is commonly referred to as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Contact the Barrows Firm in Southlake if you have questions about school closures and your possession and access schedule. Our team can help you with your custody and visitation issues in light of temporary school closures. Divorce and child custody attorney Leslie Barrows and the team at the Barrows Firm attorneys are here to help. (817) 481-1583.
Keeping Children Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic and School Closures
Talking to your kids about Coronavirus, COVID-19, and social distancing is important. Sometimes too much information can overwhelm concerned children. Make sure they know that they are going to be safe at home and that social distancing helps keep healthy people from getting sick. If you feel comfortable, explain to them how people who have no symptoms may be carrying the virus, and even though they may feel fine, they don’t want to infect others, including elders.
The National Association of School Psychologists offers an article on point: Talking to Children About Covid-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource.
Spring Break Extensions, School Closures Options, and Possession Schedule Modifications
The Governor’s emergency order addresses modifications of their possession and access schedules, specifically stating, “Nothing herein prevents parties from altering a possession schedule by agreement if their court order(s), or courts from modifying their orders.”
With children out of school and at home for weeks at a time, the impact on families can be significant. Especially when there are young children, and children with specific needs, school closures can cause hardship for parents and children.
You can modify your court-ordered possession and access schedule if the COVID-19 pandemic and school closures are affecting your family. To modify your possession and access schedule you can negotiate an agreement with the other parent or you can file an original modification case.
The Barrows Firm Offers Information About Modifications of Possession and Access Schedules
On our website, we have short articles and podcasts explaining how modifications work and what you can expect if you need to take action because of the COVID-19 pandemic and related school closures.
Recent Article: The Child Custody Modification Process in Texas
Recent Podcast: Episode 6: What Does a Modification Case Look Like in Texas