Withholding Custody During COVID


Withholding Custody During COVID

There are continuing concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how best to protect yourself and your family.  In families where the parents are no longer together, differing opinions on subjects such as school, playtime and visiting with friends or relatives can sometimes lead to the need for court intervention.

One option some parents are choosing is to withhold custody from the other parent if they do not believe the other parent is taking sufficient precautions.  What if the other parent works in a hospital and is exposed to sick patients?  What if the other parent is allowing other people into the home?  What if the other parent does not believe in wearing masks?  Is it OK to not allow the children to go back with the other parent if you are in disagreement with them?

Withholding custody, especially if there is a custody order in place, is not wise unless you truly believe the children are in danger.  The guidelines from the state allow travel and custodial exchanged pursuant to a custody order, and, as always, parents are bound to follow the custody order or risk being found in contempt by the courts.

What can a parent do then?  One option is to file a petition for emergency custody.  These petitions should not be considered lightly.  Unless a substantial harm to the child can be shown, the courts are generally not granting these petitions based on general COVID concerns.  If it can be shown that a particular child is at great risk, and it can be shown specifically, it may be worth speaking with an experienced family law attorney to help decide the best way to proceed.

We are available to help.  If you are unable or do not feel safe visiting us in person, Virtual LaMonaca Law allows us to be in touch by phone or video conference. Click or Call 610-892-3877

Image from iOS (1)

About the author

About Gerry Gebhart

Gerry graduated from Drexel University magna cum laude with a degree in Information Systems and a minor in Business Administration. After working as a consultant in the intermodal transportation industry, Gerry enrolled in and graduated from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, where he specialized in trial advocacy. Prior to joining LaMonaca Law, Gerry practiced Family Law privately while working at the Public Defender’s office. Gerry quickly gained a reputation as a savvy trial attorney, securing numerous successful trial verdicts, eventually resulting in his being elected as president of the Delaware County Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. Gerry lives in Middletown Township where he is active in his local firehouse as both a firefighter and member of the board of directors.