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Tag: coronavirus

Are family law and divorce attorneys working during the Coronavirus?

Are family law and divorce attorneys working during the Coronavirus?

Yes, at least we are here in Utah, where I practice. Courts have done a fairly good job of holding hearings by telephone or Internet conference, so that they prevent people from having to come into contact with each other in person at the courthouse.

Some particular kinds of proceedings are still being held (even required to be held) in person in the courthouses, but anything that can’t is being held remotely or being postponed. Yes, some hearings and conferences have been postponed until we can meet in the courthouse (which is, for the most part, rather silly), but we are working.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Are-family-law-and-divorce-attorneys-working-during-the-Coronavirus/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Should we award custody to the parent who is a lower risk for COVID-19?

Should we award custody to the parent who is a lower risk for COVID-19?

Is it reasonable to give custody to the parent who is a lower health risk to the child during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic?

It is reasonable only if the “lower risk” is low enough to necessitate: 1) infringing the right of the children to the care and companionship of their other parent and 2) infringing the right of the parent to exercise his/her parental rights.

If one of you is a frontline emergency room doctor or nurse whose sole job right now is admitting people who are known to be infected with the Coronavirus to the hospital for treatment, while the other is a stay at home parent or a parent who works from home and thus has minimal contact with others, then in that situation it would make sense to award temporary custody of the children to the stay at home parent until the COVID-19 crisis passes.

But consider this: Should health care worker parents be cut off from kids during COVID-19? If a parent works in a hospital then he or she is going to be exposed to diseases of all kinds. It’s not as though once COVID-19 runs its course that this parent is never going to be exposed to other contagious, possibly even deadly, diseases. We don’t consider a parent who is a doctor or nurse inherently “unfit” as a parent just because he or she has a dangerous or potentially dangerous job. Can you imagine what would happen if the law provided that parents with dangerous jobs can’t exercise custody or parent-time of their kids?

It would also make sense for the parent who has been temporarily deprived of physical contact with the kids to be provided with ample and meaningful opportunities for the parent and children to interact by telephone and internet video conference. And it’s only fair that the deprived parent receive compensatory or make-up time with the kids once the COVID-19 crisis passes.

Now let’s examine a different job scenario. If one of you is a gas meter reader and the other is a stay at home parent or a parent who works from home, then neither one of you is at high risk of contracting the Coronavirus. Yes, the meter reader will come in contact with a few more people in the course of his/her work day, but not in close contact and not in a way that is likely to risk contracting the virus. So, while the meter reader’s risk is slightly higher than stay-at-home’s risk, both parents are low risk and there is no reason for the kids to be withheld from one parent because of a negligible, slightly higher risk.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-reasonable-to-give-custody-to-the-parent-who-is-a-lower-health-risk-to-the-child-during-the-Chinese-coronavirus-pandemic/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Do you agree with the decision to temporarily take custody from an ER doctor’s child due to potential exposure to COVID-19?

Do you think it’s fair that a judge temporarily stripped Dr. Theresa Greene, of North Miami, of custody of her 4-year-old daughter because the doctor works with COVID-19 patients?

Do you agree or disagree with the decision of Circuit Court Judge Bernard Shapiro to temporarily take away custody of an ER doctor’s child, and give her ex-husband full temporary custody, due to the potential her child could be exposed to COVID-19?

I disagree with Judge Shapiro.

Up front I acknowledge that reasonable minds can differ on whether Judge Shapiro made the correct decision (I think it’s more reasonable not to rule as he did). And I don’t know all the facts but having been a divorce and family law attorney for the past 23 years, on its face this has the look and smell of a parent seeking to exploit COVID-19 worries for self-serving purposes, not for the protection of the children.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Do-you-agree-or-disagree-with-the-decision-of-Circuit-Court-Judge-Bernard-Shapiro-to-temporarily-take-away-custody-of-an-ER-doctors-child-and-give-her-ex-husband-full-temporary-custody-due-to-the-potential-her-child/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Do you think coronavirus and the quarantine will increase divorces?

Today’s question is: Do you think coronavirus and the quarantine will trigger an increase in divorces?

Answer: Without question. There are obviously some legitimate reasons to curtail or even totally suspend parent-time if a parent or child is sick with the COVID-19 virus–we don’t want the kids and parents spreading the disease in their passing back and forth between houses. But for the rest of you, remember when Rham Emmanuel said, “Never let a crisis go to waste”? Well, a malevolent parent never lets a plausible excuse to interfere with custody and parent-time go to waste either. 

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Do-you-think-coronavirus-and-the-quarantine-will-trigger-an-increase-in-divorces/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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Second and Third Judicial District Court COVID-19 Guidelines as of April 6, 2020

Second and Third Judicial District Court COVID-19 Guidelines as of April 6, 2020:

Second District

NOTICE REGARDING DOMESTIC CASES AND COVID-19

As commissioners in the Second District Court, we anticipate that many attorneys and parties may have questions about whether court orders will be interpreted differently to accommodate for the disruption caused by the current pandemic. We have met and discussed possible scenarios, and while there are some situations that will require handling on a case-by-case basis, we would like to offer the following guidelines for your assistance. As always, the word “child” is to be interpreted in the singular or plural as dictated by each case.

REGULAR PARENT-TIME: There should be no deviation from the normal parent-time schedule unless the child or someone in the child’s home has tested positive for COVID-19.  If that is the case, the custodial parent must provide documentation of the positive COVID-19 test to the non-custodial parent within 24 hours.  Following provision of the positive test, parent-time will be suspended for a period of two weeks. During the period of suspended parent-time, the noncustodial parent shall have at least 30 minutes of virtual parent-time (Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime, etc.) each day.  The missed parent time will be made up during summer break or at another time agreed upon by both parties.

SPRING BREAK: Pursuant to U.C.A. § 30-3-35(f) and (h), spring break is the custodial parent’s holiday in 2020. The parties will follow the child(ren)’s normal school schedule for the purpose of determining when spring break occurs. Unless there is a positive test (see above) or a travel restriction, spring break will be treated as it would be under non-pandemic conditions.

Similarly, under U.C.A. § 30-3-37(6), spring break is the custodial parent’s holiday this year. If the order does require the child to travel for spring break and that travel is prohibited, the non-custodial parent will be entitled to an equal period of make-up time. This make-up time will be as the parties may agree, but otherwise would be added to the non-custodial parent’s summer time or permit the non-custodial parent to take spring break in 2021, at the non-custodial parent’s election.

RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: The parties will follow their orders regarding the right of first refusal. The fact that the child may not be attending school does not affect this order.

For situations that may not be specifically addressed above, we hope and expect parents to be reasonable and try to work together to follow government guidelines and ensure the safety of their child and others.

This is a time when emotions are running high, and everyone is trying to make the best decisions possible to protect themselves and their families. Parents are strongly advised not to take advantage of the situation and engage in gamesmanship with each other. Children are afraid of the virus as well, and they need the reassurance of frequent, meaningful contact with both parents if at all possible without endangering anyone’s health.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Catherine S. Conklin
Commissioner T.R. Morgan
Commissioner Christina L. Wilson

Third District

THIRD DISTRICT COURT COMMISSIONERS’ NOTICE REGARDING DOMESTIC CASES AND COVID-19

As commissioners in the Third District Court, many attorneys and parties have questions about whether court orders will be interpreted differently to accommodate the disruption caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic. We have met and discussed possible scenarios, and while there are some situations that will require handling on a case-by-case basis, the following guidelines should govern in the absence of contravening directives of doctors and disease control experts.

  1. REGULAR PARENT-TIME: There should be no deviation from the normal parent-time schedule unless the child or someone in the child’s home has tested positive for COVID-19. If that is the case, the primary custodial parent should provide documentation of the positive COVID-19 to the noncustodial parent within 24 hours. If positive, parent-time with the noncustodial parent should be suspended for a period of two weeks. During the period of suspended parent-time, the noncustodial parent shall have at least 30 minutes of virtual parent-time (Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime, etc.) each day. The missed parent-time will be made up during the summer break, or at other times agreed upon by both parents. If a child remains positive after conclusion of the two week period, this provision should be extended until the child is no longer positive.
  2. SPRING BREAK: Pursuant to Utah Code 30-3-35(f) and (h) the spring break is the custodial parent’s holiday in 2020. The parties will follow the child(ren)’s normal school schedule for the purpose of determining when spring break occurs. Unless there is a positive test (see above) or a travel restriction, spring break should be treated as it would under non-pandemic conditions.

Similarly, Under Utah Code 30-3-37(6) spring break is the custodial parent’s holiday in 2020. If the order requires the child to travel for spring break and that travel is prohibited, a parent losing parent-time due to the travel prohibition should be entitled to an equal period of make-up time.

  1. RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL: If the governing order allows for the right of first refusal to provide child care, the fact that a child may not be attending school does not affect the order.
  2. SCHOOL CLOSURES: COVID-19 school closures will not be treated as snow days, teacher development days, or other days when school is not scheduled and which are contiguous to the weekend or holiday period under Utah Code 30-3-35 (b)(iv) and (c). Thus, until the conclusion of the academic year, children should be returned to the other parent at the time the children normally would be delivered to school or the other parent.
  3. MISCELLANEOUS: For situations not specifically addressed above, we hope and expect that parents will be reasonable and will try to work together and follow government guidelines to ensure the health and safety of their children, themselves and others. Should parents attempt to take improper advantage of the court’s present inability to hear many matters, this could eventually result in the imposition of appropriate sanctions when full court operations resume.
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Will there be more divorces or more babies after the coronavirus is over?

Will there be more divorces or more babies after the coronavirus is over?

Both.

Why more babies will be born than normal. Whenever two people of the opposite sex are forced to remain isolated together for long periods of time, they will get bored, they will get agitated, and they seek relief from the boredom and agitation, and thus odds are that they will eventually engage in sexual intercourse. When that happens and when the woman is of child-bearing age, you’re going to have some pregnancies result. When this happens on a national scale, you’re going to see another baby boom (or at least a boomlet).

Why there will be more divorces than normal. Another effect of being forced to remain isolated together for long periods of time is that differences and strains on the relationship come can no longer be denied or avoided, and things to a head both quickly and intensely. With nowhere to go and/or no one else to turn to for escape, people are forced to confront the problems in their relationship. This can be extremely awkward at best, extremely painful at worst. When the relationship is a marriage, the examination many married couples will find themselves forced to make of the dysfunction(s) in their relationship will lead at least one of the two spouses to conclude (some correctly, some—sadly—mistakenly) that the marriage must end. When this happens on a national scale, you’re going to see an unusually high volume of divorces occur.

Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277

https://www.quora.com/Will-there-be-more-divorces-or-more-babies-after-the-coronavirus-is-over/answer/Eric-Johnson-311

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