The COVID-19 pandemic has created many unique and complicated issues for parents – especially those sharing custody of their children. When parents split up, they often will divide timesharing and parental responsibilities for their children, which means they both have the right to spend time with their child and make important decisions for their child’s life. However, one issue relating to the pandemic has affected some parents’ custody rights – the refusal to wear a mask.
It is widely accepted that wearing a mask significantly reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 when you are around those who might cause exposure to the virus. There are many people who still refuse to wear masks for various reasons, even when it is required by establishments or government health orders.
What happens when one parent will not wear a mask even though the child is at a high risk of complications from COVID-19?
Judges Refuses Unsupervised Timesharing
One case in Broward County demonstrates just how much anti-mask opinions can come into play in custody cases. A mother moved to Florida and was seeking a long-distance parenting plan for her son, who is 14 years old and is considered high-risk for COVID-19 due to asthma. Despite the health risks, the mother did not wear masks to limit exposure.
The judge in this case learned that the mother posted a photo on social media of her maskless in a doctor’s office during the height of the pandemic, with the caption, “No mask for this girl.” The judge claimed that bragging about the refusal to wear a mask was a factor that went against the best interests of the child in question.
The judge would only allow supervised visits with the mother to ensure she was wearing a mask and would not consider a long-distance parenting plan until the mother and child were vaccinated.
Each Case is Different
The above case illustrates the possible impact of mask-wearing on custody cases, but this does not mean that all cases will have similar rulings. Each judge is different and has different opinions regarding mask-wearing and COVID-19 risks. In most cases, judges are upholding existing parenting plans unless there is substantial evidence it would put the child in harm’s way.
If you have a parenting plan case or are concerned about your child’s safety with their other parent, it is important to have a knowledgeable child timesharing attorney handling your case. We can address issues such as masks, health risks, and other COVID-related matters.
Speak with a Brandon Custody Attorney for Help Today
The pandemic brings new territory and issues when it comes to family law cases, but the legal team of Carman & Bevington, P.A., is ready to tackle these issues and stand up for your parental rights and the well-being of your child. Contact us online or call 813-305-0631 to schedule your appointment to learn more about our services and how we can help you.