North Carolina Attorney Says Easing of Pandemic Restrictions May Require New Negotiations Among Divorced Parents

Dustin McCrary says pandemic has permanently changed relationships 

North Carolina attorney Dustin McCrary says the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions will lead to new negotiations between divorced parents over custody agreements.

The longtime family law attorney said that due to the pandemic many parents over the last year had to come up with new arrangements, whether formal or informal, which will need to be renegotiated in the coming months as more Americans are vaccinated.

“Divorced parents had to tear up their plans for raising their kids because of the pandemic,” he said. “But things aren’t just going to go back to the old normal. A lot of family situations have changed over the last year, and that may require even more new agreements.”

McCrary said that changes in work and school schedules were among the biggest causes for changes to parenting agreements, as parents shifted to working from home and children began taking remote classes.

In one case, a mother even lost a custody fight because she lived in a school district where classes were entirely virtual, while the father’s school district had in-person classes, and the judge decided in-person learning was in the child’s best interest.

McCrary said some of those changes may become permanent, while others may have changed the internal dynamics of a custody arrangement.

“Some parents who might have only seen their kids on weekends before the pandemic have spent a lot of time with them over the last year, and they may not want to give that up,” he said. “The last year has also changed a lot of people’s priorities, usually for the better.”

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