Coronavirus is presenting a new set of challenges to parents who are frontline healthcare workers, and a recent court ruling in Miami has caused one mom in particular to lose custody of her four-year-old daughter due to her job as an emergency room doctor.
Mom Loses Custody During Coronavirus Pandemic
The doctor, Theresa Greene, previously shared custody with her ex husband, Eric Greene, for two years.
“I think it’s not fair, it’s cruel to ask me to choose between my child and the oath I took as a physician,” Greene told CNN. “I won’t abandon my team at work or the patients who will increasingly look to me to save their lives in the coming weeks, but it’s torture.”
The judge responsible for the ruling, Judge Bernard Shapiro of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, states that it is in the child’s best interests to stay with the father to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus:
“The Court finds in order to insure and protect the best interests and health of the minor child, this Order must be entered on a temporary basis,” the ruling states.
How Will Custody During Coronavirus Affect Other Workers?
While some frontline healthcare workers like Greene have to face new challenges brought on by child custody issues, she states that employees in other fields aren’t facing the same fate:
“My brother works as an engineer, and he’s building the tent hospitals up in New York. He gets to come home to his two kids. No one is questioning that decision,” Greene told CNN.
Greene says that she has been wearing full PPE (personal protective equipment) while treating her patients, and states that healthcare workers who take the proper precautions are not at risk of spreading the virus.
“If I was married I’d be given the opportunity to go home to my child, no one could tell me I shouldn’t do that,” Greene says.
Custody Issues During COVID-19
COVID-19 has led to increased issues related to child custody, including refusal of visitation orders, changes to custody orders, and temporary rulings. As new stay-at-home orders and lockdown procedures are set in place, many parents fear that their custody agreements may be affected.
Child custody is determined by a number of factors – the child’s best interest being the most paramount. That being said, child custody orders don’t take the events that occur during a global pandemic into account.
Parents and family law professionals alike are entering uncharted territory when it comes to child custody and visitation agreements.
Greene is appealing the order and will be eligible for future make-up time-sharing as well as video calls every day, but the question remains: when will she be able to see her daughter again?
As a mom, do you agree with a custody agreement being modified to protect a child from exposure to coronavirus? What would you do if you lost custody of your child because of your job?
If you’re a mom going through custody issues or trying to co-parent during these difficult times, there are resources you can seek. Although family courts are closed, check your court’s local website or consult with a family lawyer to find out what your options are. For more information on COVID-19 and divorce, click here.