Recently I shared on my Facebook page an experience I had helping a non-custodial parent (the father) secure his court-ordered parenting time during the shelter-in-place orders.
Last Wednesday, just hours before my client was to see his daughter, the custodial parent’s attorney (my adversary on the father’s child-support matters) e-mailed me to advise that his client (the custodial mother) wanted to make sure that my client was taking COVID-19 “seriously” and actually tried to claim that my client—a father who has always been an attentive and loving Dad—wasn’t taking COVID-19 seriously simply because he’d decided to take their daughter on a walk around his neighborhood.
Additionally, the custodial mother’s attorney actually wanted me to convince the father that he could not leave his house with the child, not that he shouldn’t take the child to public and crowded places, but that he had to stay inside his home with the child because this was the Governor’s directive! Although I did not represent the father on child custody/parenting issues, I was happy to fight for his right to appropriately parent his child in the face of this rather brazen attempt to strip him of his rights.
Now, there is no doubt that COVID-19 requires us all to be vigilant about where our children spend time, being socially distant, washing their hands, sanitizing, and not going gallivanting about recklessly. And I am a stickler about sanitizing my own home and making sure that anybody and anyone who comes inside my home follows a rigorous cleansing routine. However, prudence should also have a place, so that as long as a non-custodial parent is exercising care during parenting time with a child and complying with executive orders, then there is no reason why a non-custodial parent should be kept away from his or her child at this time.
All parenting time orders are in full effect. During this pandemic—and while special consideration may need to be made for custodial and non-custodial parents who are first responders (doctors, nurses, paramedics, and other health and hospital professionals)—remember to place your child at the center of your considerations as you make arrangements for their care at this time.