You have domiciliary custody and your ex lives out-of-state and wants the summer vacation. Your ex lives in the same Parish but works in a hospital and wants the 50/50 week on/week off custody to continue. Your ex lives in the same Parish but won’t give you your alternate weekend visitation.
WHAT IS THE LAW IN THE AGE OF COVID???
That has yet to be decided. The Governor has issued a Stay-at-Home Order, now in effect until 30 Apr 2020. The question is: Should children stay at one home or both homes. Many factors are to be considered:
- Has either party, the minor child or a household member had Covid and now tests negative?
- Is either party not taking the pandemic seriously, by not sheltering at home?
- Is a minor child, either party or a household member high risk for morbidity, due to age or pre-existing medical condition?
- Is either party employed in an essential occupation and working outside of the home?
- Is the Governor’s Proclamation and Stay-at-Home Order advisory or does it supercede Family Court Judgments?
- Are both parents qualified to home school the minor child?
The Governor has defined “essential” activities as excluding “visiting family if there is no urgent need”. Visitation is based on the best interests of the child. The question raised is whether there an urgent need for the child to spend time with both parents, not whether there is an urgent need for the parent to spend time with the child. In other words, would the minor child, or children, would be psychologically damaged by not spending time with the other parent or a half-sibling. If it is determined that it is not “urgent” for the child to spend time with the other parent, then skype can be ordered every night to spend some face time with the other parent, or the acquisition of a cell phone for the minor child needs to be hastened.
One District Court in Jefferson Parish and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal has decided the issue in favor of the binding authority of the Governor’s Order. One District Court in Livingston Parish believes that the Governor’s Order is secondary to the rights of a parent to spend time with a child as ordered. There very well may be a split in the circuits and at this time the State Supreme Court is reluctant to rule on the binding nature of the Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order.
You need an experienced lawyer, who knows the court hearing your case, to argue your case to your best advantage and take it up on appeal if the trial court rules to your disadvantage.
Ellen Cronin Badeaux, LLC has handled visitation and custodycases in Amite, Bogalusa,Chalmette, Covington, Denham Springs, Franklinton, Gonzales, Greensburg, Gretna, Hammond, Harvey, Kenner, Livingston, Madisonville, Mandeville, Marrero, Metairie, New Orleans and Slidell, in the following parishes for 27 years: Ascension, E. Baton Rouge, Jefferson, Livingston, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. Just call 985-892-1955 or 504-669-0020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org