Do I have to exchange my child during the California ‘Shelter At Home’ based on our normal custody orders?
The State of California is going through an unprecedented and completely unexpected scenario with the COVID-19 ‘Shelter at Home’ Order from Governor Newsom. The order is not only affecting employers, work places, restaurants, bars, gym, Californian children’s schooling, but also extracurricular activities, day-to-day schedules, parent work schedules, etc. As a family law attorney in the Inland Empire, practicing in San Bernardino County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County, and Orange County, I have been getting many questions from clients, engaged in discussions with other attorneys, and received calls from potential clients regarding how the ‘Shelter at Home’ Order affects custody exchanges, if at all.
In an effort to provide insight and perspective to the parents struggling with what to do, I wanted to share some things to consider when determining if you should exchange your child according to your court ordered custody and visitation schedule. Every case is different and there is not a “one size fits all” answer. Your “home court” judge will be the ultimate decider for your case; however, most courts in California are open on a very limited basis and only for emergency situations. The likelihood that you will be able to get into court to ask for an order regarding a custody exchange during the next several weeks is highly unlikely. Therefore, how should you approach a custody exchange during the California COVID-19 ‘Shelter at Home’ Order and what facts should you consider?