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What does Florida's new stay-at-home order mean to co-parenting?

Attorney: Order doesn't apply to custody agreements
Palm Beach County mom Amanda Locker
Posted at 4:26 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 16:51:36-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.  — Co-parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic is causing concern for some parents, especially those who share custody of their children.

WPTV spoke with a Palm Beach County marital and family law attorney to find out what the state’s new stay-at-home order means.

Palm Beach County mom Amanda Locker works diligently to keep her children on balanced schedules during this pandemic.

“You need to go outside for an hour, disconnect from technology go for a bike ride, go in the pool,” said Locker.

But she isn’t the only parent in charge.

“We divorced, it’s been now seven years. We chose to live in the same city, so it would be easy for the children, and we’ve always had a 50/50 custody agreement,” said Locker, a divorced mother.

That agreement is being put to the test during Florida’s stay-at-home order.

“My child the other day said, ‘Mom can I stay at dad’s for the first couple of days to adjust,’ because it was his day, and I said, 'absolutely,' because their well-being and their education comes before my selfishness of, ‘no, it’s my day.”

However, Abigail Beebe who specializes in marital and family law says her office is getting an increase in calls with questions on how to share custody during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In state, within a normal distance, where there are no travel prohibitions, I’m suggesting that the time-sharing continue between the two parents,” said Beebe.

Beebe says the stay-at-home order does not apply to custody agreements. She says unless you have proof, a reckless situation or one parent is sick, you should try to stick with the agreement as best as possible.

“You have to look at in the light of when this over the courts are going to be open and operating, and the other parent might be entitled to make up time or there might be an issue with contempt, or something like that after this is said and done,” said Beebe.