COVID-19 Custody question
March 23, 2020 4:51 AM   Subscribe

Ex-spouse took our shared custody 10 year old daughter via airplane to Orlando for spring break last week. Just picked her up for my custody week and found out about this. Freaking out now and wondering a) how ridiculous was this and b) what if anything should we be doing? Our state (Indiana) is not on lock down orders.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does your custody agreement allow for out-of-state travel without informing you? Sounds like a no-no that way.

If you are self-quarantining, you may get her to do extra sanitizing to make sure she didn't bring something home to you.
posted by notsnot at 5:05 AM on March 23 [6 favorites]

In Canada, people returning from travel to Covid hotspots are asked to fully quarantine for 14 days, not leaving their house at all, not even to visit parks or go grocery shopping. I think the most socially responsible thing you could do would be to quarantine (at least as much as possible) for 2 weeks.

If you are able to use separate bathrooms, I would do that, to lessen the chance you’ll catch it from her off a faucet or doorknob.

If you have to use the same bathroom, keep your toothbrushes apart, use different tubes of toothpaste, don’t share towels, and ask her to wash off the faucets with her soapy hands when she uses the sink.

Sanitize shared surfaces like doorknobs, wash hands especially after she sneezes or coughs, don’t share utensils or rest your faces on the same cushions.

Both of you take Vitamin D supplements, eat healthy, drink water, get lots of sleep.

Young people tend to shed the virus asymptomatically so these measures are protective for you, and help make sure you’re well to take care of her.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:37 AM on March 23 [15 favorites]

I can't help you with b), but if you're looking for validation for feeling like this was a really stupid and irresponsible thing to have done, I'll go ahead and co-sign on that.
posted by saladin at 6:14 AM on March 23 [58 favorites]

In terms of ridiculousness: if that person was not my ex-spouse, they would be now.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:30 AM on March 23 [37 favorites]

I keep running into these issues I never even thought about because they don't impact me. I'm so sorry this is something you have to worry about.

If there's any way to do it legally - maybe with a friendly agreement, if you have that kind of relationship with your ex? if he's a rational human, which your post seems to indicate maybe not? - I would see if you could terminate the back-and-forth until things start to settle down. Which could be who knows how long, but it's better for your daughter not to be traveling between households right now.
posted by invincible summer at 6:35 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]

This was terribly irresponsible of your ex and I am so sorry.

If you aren't already keeping her at home, please start keeping her at home. Flights are how this is spreading around the world. You are being entirely reasonable to worry and you are being entirely reasonable to be angry at your ex.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:38 AM on March 23 [2 favorites]

Last week there were no theme parks open in Orlando, and it's not like Orlando has beaches so I don't know WTF s/he was thinking. Also, copious news that spring breakers in Florida flouted the social distancing recommendations and now thousands are sick. Six days ago the President asked Americans to avoid discretionary travel. Your ex spouse flouted this and put your daughter in danger. Furthermore, you just found out about it... at your exchange. You didn't even know it was happening as it happened.

I'll let other people tell you about virus precautions, but you asked "what if anything we should be doing" and one of those things is getting on the phone with your lawyer for an emergency custody conversation because there's no way in hell I'd surrender my kid to someone who was so reckless with health and well being, even in the context of a custody arrangement. I would fight for no visitation rights for your ex for the duration of this pandemic if I were in your shoes.
posted by juniperesque at 6:42 AM on March 23 [31 favorites]

During the Pandemic, which is likely to last at least another month and quite possibly several, is your child going back and forth between households? Because that sounds unwise. Googling custody pandemic guidelines gets the same pleasant guidelines that don't address medical issues. This Pandemic was declared a national emergency on Mar 13, the 1st case in Indiana was reported Mar 6, so it was irresponsible. I have an irresponsible ex-, it's hella frustrating and makes life so difficult,so you have my sympathy.

You have to decide if you think it's safe for your child to go from house to house, and safe for you and any others. If you and ex- are able to talk, you should know what that household is doing to keep things safe. If spouse is unwilling or unable to behave in a safe manner, and you feel strongly, you can ask for temporary full custody.
posted by theora55 at 6:50 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]

There is a previous related AskMe that you may want to review: Custody in the time of coronavirus

For health information, the MeFi Wiki Disaster Planning & Recovery page, Medical/Pandemic section links to a variety of resources, including public health authorities and experts, e.g. Blake Elias, Chen Shen and Yaneer Bar-Yam, Respiratory health for better COVID-19 outcomes, New England Complex Systems Institute (March 16, 2020).

I encourage you to get a lawyer (MeFi Wiki) for a consultation, because advice on how to proceed depends on your local law, the specific terms of your custody order, and your particular circumstances, including the wider impact of the coronavirus crisis.
posted by katra at 10:15 AM on March 23 [1 favorite]

If nothing else, try to get proof in writing that this happened.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:27 AM on March 23 [4 favorites]

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