Getting divorced can be difficult. Sometimes the parties agree and sometimes they disagree on various issues related to the marriage. After a long and difficult period of time, spouses work out settlements. Settlements in divorces deal with custody issues, spousal maintenance, support of the children, division of the parties property and a host of other issues. What stipulations of settlements in divorce generally don’t deal with is whether to vaccinate your children. In addition, divorce agreements don’t deal with issues as to whether the parents needs to be vaccinated when they spend time with there children.
Stipulations of settlements in divorces were never designed to deal with situations where Covid-19 causes children to be educated at home on a computer. Stipulations of settlement normally deal with parenting time broken down between weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Settlement agreements in divorces have never been designed to deal with children not attending school.
The Mask Issue
I have been handling matrimonial and family law cases for more than 40 years. I have never seen or been involved in a case that dealt with the issues as to whether children should be wearing masks when they attend school. Covid-19 has created numerous issues that had never before been thought about, dealt with or incorporated into a settlement agreement, separation agreements and judgments of divorce.
Looking Forward to Covid-19 Issues and Divorces
Today Covid-19 issues have to be dealt with when parties seek to settle or resolve divorce related issues.
In a case before Justice Matthew F. Cooper, who sits in Supreme Court in New York County, Justice Copper states “The danger of voluntarily remaining unvaccinated during access with the child while the Covid-19 virus remains a threat to children’s health and safety cannot be under estimated.” Judge Cooper went on to hold a mother could force her ex-husband to either get vaccinated or submit to Covid-19 testing before he could spend time with his 3 years old child.
Covid-19 issues require attorneys to deal with matters never before necessary to be discussed related to divorces. Attorneys need to be creative and deal with issues concerning parents anti-vaccination philosophies, social distancing, and remote learning situations. Covid-19 has created uncharted legal issues for attorneys to deal with in divorces.
Elliot S. Schlissel is a divorce lawyer who has been helping clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law from more than 40 years. Elliot and his team of Family Law Attorneys help their clients throughout the metropolitan New York area