Coronavirus Difficult Santa Clara County Custody Circumstances

On-site protection was not easy for anyone. But for those who share custody of their children, the problem is worsening.

Social distancing has made mundane tasks like grocery shopping more difficult. Everything but the main shops has closed their doors, so social pursuits like a drink with a friend or a Sunday lunch at your favorite restaurant are out of the question.

These setbacks, while inconvenient, pale in comparison to the logistics of wading through the court system when your child’s situation requires special consideration.

According to the Santa Clara District Supreme Court, “

However, children with breathing problems are at higher risk of developing COVID-19. Given the court’s policy, special consideration – for example reorganizing joint custody of children with respiratory problems or when one of the parents has increased exposure – requires an emergency order. The family court is open to urgent matters, such as those involving allegations that the health or safety of a child is at risk, or in situations of domestic abuse. Although parents are still able to request emergency consideration, the court has postponed all hearings originally scheduled from March 17 to May 29 for 90 days.

“Judicial officers are available to review all inquiries and determine if there is an emergency and if a shortened hearing should be scheduled,” said Benjamin Rada, a spokesman for the court, to San Jose Spotlight in an email. “These decisions are made on a case-by-case basis.”

Rachel McKenzie, executive attorney at the ProBono Project, a New Orleans-based group that provides legal services to the poor and the elderly in custody cases, said although there was some confusion along the way – misunderstandings about whether courts are open or how the shelter is – in-place order concerns cases – everyone is working to keep the children safe.

“It’s kind of like what Indiana Jones says,” We’ll make it up to you while we carry on, “McKenzie told San Jose Spotlight.” We’ve all been forced to crawl. The only happiness we’ve found is that the technology … was really beneficial. “

As the court seeks to uphold custody arrangements except in the event of an emergency, court officials encourage parents to provide housing without involving the court whenever possible, McKenzie said. While technologies like Zoom, Facetime, and Skype allow parents to receive non-traditional forms of visiting, not everyone has access to WiFi, which complicates matters.

And there will still be people who do not agree with the judgment of their case by the court.

“Sometimes people are so preoccupied with not liking the other parent that they are following the court order carefully instead of wanting to do what is in the best interests of the child,” McKenzie said. “The problem is, we all need to realize that every judge is human, just like us, and every judge determines what an emergency is just like we would.”

Andrew Cain, senior attorney at Legal Advocates for Children & Youth, said that it’s not just joint custody cases that affect children. Other branches of the court are being forced to control how best to advocate for the youth during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cain’s office mainly deals with children who are victims of domestic violence or teenagers who have children. While he does not know that custody issues are a widespread problem during the COVID-19 outbreak, it is difficult to get an accurate picture of the situation as these cases are spread across the legal system.

“It is not easy to get a clear picture of issues related to custody and the visit and how the crisis affects custody in all situations. How families are being uprooted as a result of this crisis is difficult to control, ”said Cain. “How do we support children, cultivate family relationships and ensure a stable environment? Each court system plays a different role. “

Despite some issues, the courts handle custody issues well, McKenzie said, largely due to parents working to adjust accordingly.

“You’d be surprised how much people respect the system,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what culture, what age group, what age the child is, what socio-economic group – people have the same concerns and the judges and the court understand that.”

Contact David Alexander at [email protected]

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