We are all suffering from Covid fatigue to some degree. The care we took to follow safety measures last spring is much harder to muster during the holiday season. Add to that the deep divide in this country between those who believe we have a duty to contain the spread of the virus and those who don’t. When you enforce strict safety protocols in your home, and your ex-husband does not, your children could be exposed to the virus and bring it home to you. That makes what goes on in your ex’s house your business.
Existing Court Orders Stand Despite Restrictions
Even under the statewide stay-at-home orders last spring, exceptions were made to honor shared custody agreements. That meant that divorced couples with shared custody were living in extended “bubbles” and relied on each other to limit exposure to the virus. We are now living with fewer mandated restrictions, but we also have a better understanding of the kinds of behaviors that put us at risk of exposure to the virus. If your ex-husband is ignoring safety recommendations such as wearing masks in public, limiting indoor gatherings, avoiding travel, and opting for take-out rather than dining in a restaurant, you are justified in taking action to protect your children and yourself. We recommend following these steps:
- Try mediation. If your ex refuses to respect your wishes, you could try making a mediation appointment to have a third party help you come to an agreement about what’s acceptable and what’s not. If your ex hasn’t listened to you so far, however, mediation is not likely to work.
- Seek admonishment. Before filing for a change to the custody order—something the court is going to be reluctant to do—your first step should be to file a motion asking the court to admonish your ex to follow reasonable safety protocols. The court will warn your ex that if he doesn’t follow the agreed-upon measures, you will be free to file a change of custody motion.
- Ask for a change in custody. As a last resort, you can file a change in custody motion. Be prepared with documented evidence that your ex regularly violates safety protocols. Hearsay will not be sufficient. Frequent parties, multiple caregivers, plans for air travel, refusal to wear masks, and the like could be sufficient to convince a judge to give you sole custody if you can prove they happened.
Custody is a two-way street. You could be seeking to change your ex’s behavior, or he could be accusing you of breaking safety rules. Either way, you will need an experienced California child custody attorney on your team. Reach out to Nathan Law Offices to discuss your custody concerns as soon as you realize there is a problem. Your ultimate goal is to protect your children, so the sooner you put the wheels in motion, the better off they will be. Fill out our contact form or call us today.