In a written response, Mr Thilmony’s lawyers told the court that Ms. Sams had not quoted anything specific about what he was doing to put her son in danger and that she would refuse him the allotted time with his child after doing so fought over parenting problems that had nothing to do with the coronavirus. “The father should not be denied contact with the mother through the emergency application because of his position as a firefighter,” they wrote. Mr Thilmony declined to comment on this article.
The judge scheduled an online hearing so that both parents could attend and have enough time to prepare. They will make their arguments on Tuesday.
In New Jersey, Mr. Surdukowski received an emergency hearing the same day his attorney filed the motion. It was late on a Friday afternoon, and when Dr. Mayorquin could not be reached by phone, the judge issued the order and granted Mr. Surdukowski sole temporary custody.
Dr. Mayorquin was dismayed by the separation from her daughters and immediately prepared to get them back. She ticked off the points: She didn’t plan to treat patients with Covid-19. She wore personal protective equipment and immediately took off her clothes when she got home. In the end, however, she found it safest to comply with Mr. Surdukowski’s request not to see patients in person.
The hospital let her withdraw into her telemedicine. As much as Dr. Mayorquin regretted not being able to do more at a time of critical need, she said she felt she had no choice. “I didn’t mean to fight,” she said. “I just wanted my kids back.”
The insurance worked. The next Monday, after an online hearing, the judge overturned the order.
In Monterey County, California, Lisa Chu filed an urgency motion to seek sole temporary custody of the 11-year-old twins and 9-year-old son she shares with her ex-husband, Steven Biakanja, a firefighter. He had to get a negative coronavirus test result every time he was supposed to see the children – an impossible claim given the limited availability of screenings.
According to her court-approved parenting plan, the children typically spend about 60 percent of the time with her and the rest with him. Two weeks ago, Ms. Chu wanted to withhold the children from Mr. Biakanja after two other firefighters tested positive for Covid-19. She and others in his fire station were quarantined at home. Mr Biakanja assured her that he would quarantine himself if he developed symptoms or had contact with someone infected with the virus.