MANATEE COUNTY, Florida – With courthouses closed, legal proceedings and cases of all kinds will be on hold, but the pandemic has presented parties involved in custody cases with unique challenges, especially those where one or both parties fail to seek custody keep agreements.
What you need to know
- An estimated 250,000 people in the Bay Area dealing with ongoing custody cases
- Parents who wish to take action may be able to file urgency requests in the courts
- More coronavirus stories
Jiselle Figuero, who lives in Manatee County, shares custody of her son with her ex-husband.
According to Figuero, the Manatee County Court only granted her husband custody every other weekend and visits on Wednesdays.
However, the pandemic has created a situation where it has become difficult to enforce. Figuero told us that she has not seen her son since March 11th.
“I didn’t have that time with my son and it’s not fair,” she told us. “Father can have him for what, eight weeks? I could only speak to him twice and each time it was three or four minutes. “
It is estimated that nearly 250,000 people in Tampa Bay are dealing with ongoing custody cases.
In response to our inquiries about this story, the Manatee County Clerk made the following statement:
“The parties are expected to continue to obey all instructions regarding parental responsibility and facilitate access to children for the other parent.”
If you’re a parent who hasn’t, and your ex-spouse doesn’t play by the rules, our legal analyst Kevin Hayslett states that there is a way to take the problem to court.
“If you find someone who is abstinent and says, ‘I don’t want to,” you can make an emergency claim and for the most part those requests are heard very quickly, “Hayslett said.
Most courts hear a handful of special cases virtually, but they rely on parents to just do the right thing.