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What if my child is too ill to alternate custody?

The reality of sharing custody or visitation privileges with a child's other parent is often very different from how you think it will be when you are negotiating a parenting plan. Often, life just gets in the way, and it is difficult to understand the right way to raise your child and also honor the other parent's rights and the agreement you made together. One common difficulty occurs when a child is feeling ill when it comes time to alternate custody with the other parent.

Truthfully, there is no simple answer to this question. There are many factors that go into the decision, such as the age of the child, the severity of the illness and the distance between the homes. Both you and the child's other parent have a primary responsibility to care for the child first and foremost in the matter, so if changing custody is truly not in the child's best interest, then it is possible that you should postpone the switch.

A common standard that many parents use to navigate this issue (and almost every parent will deal with this at some point or another) is whether or not the child is well enough to attend school. Of course, this is not a hard and fast rule — some schools have very strict sickness policies, and parents who school at home won't find this guideline useful.

Ultimately, this is an issue where you and the other parent should work together to resolve. However, that is not always possible, and in some cases can create a legally tricky scenario. If you are concerned about the legal ramifications of postponing visitation or alternating custody, reach out to an experienced attorney who can help you discern what is both healthy and wise, keeping the child's best interests at the heart of the matter.

Source: Courts.ca.gov, "What if the child is not feeling well when it is time to change homes?," accessed April 21, 2017

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