Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on “This Needs to Be Said”, our friend, attorney, Beshoy has returned. And he’s going to talk with us about COVID and child custody.
Welcome back to the show. How are you?
I am doing well. Thank you so much for having me, Katherine. It’s always a pleasure to be here.
Awesome! Awesome! So COVID the pandemic is still a topic that is touching everyone, but we’re talking with you from Family Law Matters today, and I’m asking you specifically, you know, what are the effects of COVID on child custody, but before we get there, because it’s been a little while since we had time with you, I want you to tell us a little bit about yourself and Family Law Matters.
Absolutely! Thank you, Katherine. So Family Law Matters is built on one principle and that is to protect our clients and their loved ones using Christian principles. That is what makes us different. We’ve been around for over 20 years and we are always raising the bar in Riverside County, also San Diego and San Bernardino, San Bernardino counties.
So with the pandemic being on everyone’s mind and it’s affecting us all in different ways. But specifically today, we’re talking about child custody. How has it, or has it, affected people and their child, child custody cases.
That is a great question. Katherine, COVID has greatly impacted custody. It’s raised new issues, new concerns that the courts have not had to deal with before for example, there was the, the science that the children can transmit the virus, which greatly impacted how custody exchanges were taking place. Because one parent was, you know, very, careful, the other was less, was more lenient. So it really just affected the exchange locations that affected the schedules and the courts, believe it or not to this day are still trying to figure it out.
It’s new, it’s new to us. It’s new to this society. so I could imagine so that I’m like, wow, but if it’s believed that a child would transmit, so did that keep them from having visitation, did that keep one parent from being able to spend time Did they give them another parent more time Like I get that, you know, the courts don’t know how to deal with it. So did it just stop where it was like, what happened?
Well, the courts, again, the courts haven’t dealt with this issue before, so the best advice that I can give anybody who has these concerns is number one, consult with an attorney, there is no bright line rule the court, the only rule, or the only indication that the court will provide is that if there’s a court order, no matter what you need to follow the court order, but I would certainly recommend consulting with an attorney to figure out what your options are and if you have grounds to go in and ask for some sort of a modification of the visitation schedule or the custody orders, depending on those concerns,
Well, I’m just going to, I’m going to hit you again with another question. What if, you know, the other parent has COVID and is their week or weekend with the child, is, you know, you have to hand off the child. Is that a reason it’s okay?
Tough call because on one side there’s a safety concern and on the other side, there is the, the, in my opinion, the bigger picture of this relationship with the child, the parent’s time with the child. So again, there really isn’t a clear line rule. If you do suspect that you have COVID or the child has COVID consult with an attorney, obviously consult with a medical professional but I mean, at some point, if the danger, for example, if you have underlying health conditions and you know that the child has, I’m sorry, the child has COVID, and it may be grounds to go into court and say, your honor, there’s exigent circumstances here. There is something that there’s imminent harm that can take place. And we, I mean, we present your case to the court.
And what if the doctor says to quarantine your child, it’s my week with the child, or it’s my week with the child, but you’ve been given a doctor’s order to quarantine. Now, before you answer that, and I know we’re talking about COVID, but I’m thinking of when my kids were little and I had to do the handoff, his dad’s still got him, but it wasn’t COVID. He had a, he had a, he had a cold, but, you know, fever and everything, but I packed him up with instructions and his medicine and gave us that a heads up on what the care was. So I’m wondering if COVID could be handled the same way, the best way.
Recourse that you have at that point is number one always follow your court order. Doctors don’t have the authority to override court orders, but if your doctor is recommending that you quarantine, then you need to go, you need to get the court, even if it’s on an emergency basis to get your side heard and to get updated orders, if possible, it really depends on each case. Each scenario, the courts have not given any clear, clear line rule as to what happens in this situation, especially because it’s custody or taking it on a case-by-case basis. And quite frankly, it differs from county to county and from courthouse to courthouse and from judge to judge.
And I’m even thinking about the time because the quarantine lasts 10 to 14 days, right?
On an estimate like, and let, let us, let us continue to be clear. This is general information. You would have to contact the attorney, Beshoy or an attorney in your area to get specifics on your case. If any of these questions apply to you. However, I want us to, to touch on a few things, to give you an idea, to get the ball rolling. If your mind has been thinking these things, how do you proceed so back to my question, I’m thinking that it takes time to get into the court. So 10 to 14 days versus trying to get into court. And I need to take care of my child. I’m thinking for myself, I would just try to talk to the other parent, hopefully, you know, they’ll understand because we’re all going through the same thing. I’m not doing it to be selfish but, as you are an attorney, is this something I could quickly get adjusted for an emergency?
So Katherine, you bring up a very good point. Every case can go one of two directions. It can either be negotiated and the parties can, are both reasonable and reach a decision on their own, or it is litigated. And the judge makes the decision. So my first recommendation is if you suspect that there’s any sort of health concern on either side, bring it up to the other party, discuss it with the other party and see if you can reach some sort of reasonable, schedule, I guess, or modification but if you can’t and it’s you believe that the danger is imminent, you may want to consult with an attorney and figure out what your options are because you don’t have to wait in line for 45 to 60 days to get a court date. There may be the possibility of going in on what’s called an ex parte, an emergency, an emergency hearing.
Okay. And speaking with your attorney would be the best way to get that done. I just know, as an individual on my own, not an attorney takes a long time. I’m thinking the quarantine will be over by the time we got in there. So yeah, we would have to have some other support in this. And as you’ve been saying this entire interview, the importance, the importance or the focus is the child. So is this in the best interest of the child and your court order like I get that life happens, but you’re not in a regular situation. You now have court orders. You now have binder boundaries. That’s set up, you have rules that you must adhere to. It’s not just me. And you say something together and we break an agreement. If it has more consequences than that and you have the importance of your child so you really have to, know who’s on your team. Talk with your attorney. Yes. Know what the medical professionals are saying so that you can give that to your attorney and to the other parent or the other guardian. Now vaccinations has, has been a topic to get vaccinated or not to get vaccinated is the question. So if one parent says, yes, we’re for it, let’s do it. And the other parents says, no, how, how do we handle that?
That is a very good question, Katherine. And unfortunately the answer is not black and white. It’s an issue that is becoming more prominent now with the vaccines and the theories that are spreading around the vaccines. The best again, possible approach is to reason what the other party and understand what the concerns, what the fears are. And if you two can’t decide, then your only option would be to get the courts involved. It really depends. Number one, on your court order and the language in your court order, it depends on how amicable you are with the other parent. Don’t forget that you both want what’s in the best interest of your kids and you want them safe. You want them healthy. So it’s tough. It’s a tough decision to have to make. But if you can’t, then the courts, you can always get the courts involved and let the judge make the decision.
Yeah. Yeah. We are going to wrap up our time here, but I want to ask you one more question and then tell people how to get in touch with you. What more can we tell people about COVID and child custody before we leave today?
If you have concerns, if you have COVID concerns, my first answer to you is to discuss it with the other party. Remember, at the end of the day, that it’s all about the kids put aside your personal differences. There’s a reason why the two of you are no longer together, but it doesn’t have to affect or impact your child or your children. So number one is always try to reach out to the other side. Always try to be as reasonable as you possibly can. Number two is if you both can’t reach an agreement and can’t agree on the same results, consult with an attorney, no attorney can tell you to violate a court order. Nobody can, other than the court changing its orders. So always err, on the side of follow your court orders, if your court orders don’t address the issue or they’re vague then, and reasoning, what the other party will not help you or will not solve the problem then your best alternative is consult with an attorney. Get some advice on what your chances are in court. Is it an issue that the courts are addressing Is it something that’s likely to succeed Things of the sort. So try to reach out, try to reason, keep in mind that your children are number one. And if he can’t consult with an attorney, absolutely consult with an attorney to get to find out what your options are. That’s what we’re here for.
Absolutely tell people how to get in touch with you outside of This Needs to Be Said, please be sure.
Absolutely! So our firm obviously is Family Law Matters. We have two locations, one in Temecula, California, one in Corona, California. You can reach us directly by phone. Our phone number is (951) 587-0505. Again, that’s 9 5 1- 5 8 7- 0 5 0 5. You can also reach us via our social media, our Facebook page, our website, which is www dot Temecula, divorce.com or our Instagram page. And you can also find us on Google local or, MapQuest. I don’t know if people still use MapQuest or not, but you can still find us on.
Absolutely! And I remember MapQuest, so now I’m going to go see if people are still using. Absolutely, but you all can be found any anyway, so thank you so much for joining us on This Needs to Be Said. And until next time have a super day. Thank you so much, Katherine, for having me again.