COVID-19 and Child Custody Matters Series, Part 3

I am a healthcare worker unable to practice social distancing. Will my children be taken away because I am on the front lines and have risk of exposure?

This is a much more difficult question to answer and will depend on many factors specific to individual circumstances.

On the one hand, a parent who is on the front lines may feel that it is in their child(ren)’s best interest to still have time with that parent.  That parent may also feel strongly that they are doing everything possible and recommended within the confines of their job to protect themselves.  They may feel they are being punished, especially after already sacrificing so much to meet a dire need for healthcare during this pandemic.  On the other hand, the other parent may have very sincere worries that the possibility of passing COVID-19 asymptomatically makes it much riskier that the child(ren) could unintentionally be exposed even if the parent exhibits no symptoms.

We are in an unprecedented global pandemic and there isn’t clear case law or guidance on how to address what should happen when one parent is continuing to work on the “front lines.” It will be difficult to predict how courts will respond to these disputes and courts across the country are reaching widely different results. What we do know is that if this issue must be resolved by a court (i.e. the parents can’t agree), the court will make the decision with the best interests of the child(ren) in mind, and in accordance with the newly issued Arizona Supreme Court Guidelines.

If you are a parent faced with a parenting time dispute and would like to receive guidance about your options, you can contact family law attorney Ashley DeBoard at Flagstaff Law Group for a consultation.

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Legal advice should take into account the specific facts of your situation.  You should seek professional legal counsel before acting upon any of the information contained in this article.