As COVID-19 began to take hold in the United States, Texas and other states took action to ensure that child possession schedules remained in effect and were followed according to court orders. These actions were effective, and as COVID-19 continues to persist in society, parents have adapted to working within court-ordered possession schedules. Now, however, new issues have surfaced regarding the safety and protection of children who are subject to the court-ordered possession schedules.
With our communities relying on front line workers, such as doctors and nurses, first responders, and other essential workers to maintain an essence of status quo, their jobs require them to risk exposure to COVID-19. With proper procedure and protection, these workers continue to battle whatever our communities are facing. However, in a situation such as this, do these workers bring that risk home which will endanger the health of their children? That is a question that was recently answered by a Circuit Court Judge in Florida.
In this case, which has quickly gone viral and grabbed national headlines, Dr. Theresa Greene works as an ER physician at a Miami-area hospital. Dr. Greene exercised extreme caution, wore all required protective gear, and has even gone above and beyond to protect her 4-year old daughter which she shares custody of with her ex-husband. Despite taking all necessary precautions, the judge ruled that the daughter must temporarily reside exclusively with the father.
In his ruling, the judge stated, “The Court does not enter this Order lightly but given the pandemic in Florida and the recent increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the Court finds in order to insulate and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this Order must be entered on a temporary basis.” With no end currently in sight regarding COVID-19, how long is “a temporary basis?” Additionally, the father’s lawyer added that the ruling stated Dr. Greene will be provided make-up time for the lost time due to the pandemic which raises more questions of how the Court might accomplish this.
Although the Appellate Court has granted a Motion to Stay on this case which allows Dr. Theresa Greene and her ex-husband to revert back to the old schedule, the issue of whether temporarily ordering the daughter to exclusively stay with the husband during this pandemic is in the best interest and health of the child is still to be decided along with potential answers to all these other questions. We at McClure Law Group are keeping a close eye on the developing situation. Our attorneys are prepared to face and handle all these unique issues in such uncertain times and would be eager to assist however possible regarding your particular situation. If you have questions and need some advice, please call 214-692-8200 for further guidance today!