It hasn’t been the easiest seven months to be a parent. When coronavirus began to really spread in the United States last March, parents had a new problem to confront. How would they protect their children from contracting the disease? Things even became more difficult for parents who share custody of a child.
Risking a child’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic
Already, several parents have battled in court over custody disagreements over limiting their children’s exposure to COVID-19. In fact, one mother recently lost custody of her son because she refused to wear a mask. Her 14-year-old son suffers from asthma, which makes him at greater risk for contracting the disease. The Broward District judge who ruled on the case was especially upset because the child’s mother flaunted her anti-mask views on social media. She even posted a photo of herself not wearing a mask in an oral surgeon’s office.
As a result of the ruling, she only is allowed supervised visits with her son because neither the judge nor the child’s father trust her to wear a mask. The judge noted that when she and her son receive the COVID-19 vaccine, he will be willing to restore her custody rights.
When one parent is a first responder
Earlier child custody rulings where COVID-19 exposure was a factor centered around situations where one parent was a first responder. In Miami-Dade court, emergency room physician Dr. Theresa Greene temporarily lost custody rights of her four-year-old daughter in April. The child’s father argued that because of Greene’s job, their daughter was more likely to contract COVID-19. However, just a few weeks later, Greene’s custody rights were restored.
In Orlando, one mother no longer wanted to share custody of her son with his father. The father was a firefighter who had recently become engaged to an emergency room nurse. However, a judge denied her request.
More custody battles during the health crisis
Many family law attorneys believe more custody battles will emerge as the current health crisis drags on. With school now in session, parents may fight over if a child chooses distant learning or if their child will participate in extracurricular sports this year.
If you feel your ex isn’t taking COVID-19 seriously and risking your child’s health, you may want to consult a family law attorney. You may need to seek a child custody modification to truly protect your child.