What should Vermont parents know if they want to modify a custody or visitation order because they want to protect children from exposure to COVID-19?
The COVID-19 public health crisis and the Vermont courts’ Declaration of Judicial Emergency are not, taken alone, a basis for changing parental rights and responsibilities (custody) and parent-child contact.
At the time of this website update, motions to suspend, modify or enforce parent-child contact in juvenile and domestic cases are not suspended by the courts’ current Administrative Order. During the COVID-19 crisis, if parties cannot reach agreement about parent-child contact, either parent should be able to bring the matter to the court for resolution. That includes the parent who wants to enforce the existing order, or the parent who wants to suspend or modify the order.
Visitation travel and quarantine rules in Vermont
Travel for parental shared custody is considered "essential travel." This means that you and your child do not need to quarantine if:
- You are returning to Vermont after visiting your child out-of-state.
- Your child lives out of state and is visiting you in Vermont.
- You live out of state and your child is returning to Vermont after visiting you.
However, if you and your child travel out of Vermont for leisure (such as a vacation), or by plane, train, bus or other means of public transportation for a non-essential purpose, you and your child must quarantine for 14 days in Vermont when you return. This includes day trips.
Also, anyone who comes into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 must quarantine for 14 days, including you or your child, no matter where the contact occurred.
Children in isolation because they have tested positive for COVID-19 or who are in quarantine because they were in close contact with someone who tested positive may isolate or quarantine in either household. It does not affect the shared custody schedule but it may mean members of the household need to quarantine or isolate.
- Child Custody and Visitation (Parental Rights and Responsibilities)
- Changing a Custody or Visitation Order
- Vermont Judiciary website
- Vermont Health Department's information on the COVID-19 coronavirus and preventing illness