Do I have to engage in visitation/custody exchange during COVID-19 in North Carolina?

Do I have to engage in visitation custody exchange during COVID-19 in North Carolina

            A common question we have been receiving is does a parent have to continue to exchange their minor child(ren) pursuant to a current custody order in light of the coronavirus situation in North Carolina.  The short answer is yes, you do still need to engage in the exchange of a custody/visitation order.

            The NC Governor recently implemented an executive order number 121 that limits travel of NC residents generally requiring them to stay in their homes.  Only travel for essential activities as defined by the order is allowed.  Paragraph 3(viii) of the order states as follows regarding essential activities:  "To return to or travel between one’s place or places of residence for purposes including, but not limited to, child custody or visitation arrangements."  Therefore, the executive order does allow for travel for the purpose of engaging in custody and/or visitation arrangements. 

            However, it may be possible now or in the future that an adjoining state may issue an executive order that may contradict and/or prohibit exchange of children as not viewing the situation as essential for the purpose of leaving a home.  Another issue may arise if one parent is knowingly not practicing social distancing so as to protect themselves, and thus minor children.  If you have questions about your specific situation, please feel free to give us a call at 336.633.4529 or via email at


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