Maryland Custody Orders Remain in Effect During COVID19 Outbreak
In light of the closure of non-essential businesses and the Maryland Stay-At-Home Order, the Maryland Judiciary issued a Statement regarding custody, access, and child support. Specifically, the Statement instructs that all Family Orders must continue to be followed and transitions and child support should continue as normal during the COVID19 pandemic. However, this Statement does not prevent families from mutually agreeing on temporarily ceasing transitions in the event of illness or exposure. The Statement is clear that if custodians are not able to agree, the Order controls.
On April 10, 2020 the Judiciary elaborated on this Statement by stating “[p]arties must comply with restrictions placed by Executive Orders in places where they live and travel. The March 27, 2020 Statement on Matters Concerning Children and Families confirmed that family law orders remain in effect and should be adhered to unless compliance would violate the provisions of an Executive Order.” Additionally, the Judiciary stated, as it relates to supervised access, “[i]f visitation centers or exchange locations are closed due to the current emergency, parties can jointly agree to alternative arrangements if permitted under the existing order.” During these uncertain times, children need the certainty of seeing both of their parents regularly.