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Bucks County Family Court Takes Unprecedented Action in Face of COVID-19 Emergency – Families with Children Subject to Custody Orders Take Heed
On April 8, 2020, President Judge Wallace H. Bateman, Jr., of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County issued Emergency Order No. 2020-11, which among other things, suspends custody rights of parents in certain situations as a result of the coronavirus emergency.
Parties to a Custody Order are now required to report to each other if any person in their household becomes infected with COVID-19, has any other respiratory infection (such as a cold, the flu or pneumonia) or is showing any of the signs of being infected with COVID-19.
In relevant part, the Order presumptively suspends the custody rights of the reporting party if they do not have custody of the child/children at the time of the report until such time as the infection or condition has resolved in their household.
If, however, the reporting party has custody of the child/children at the time of the report, then it is the non-reporting party whose custody rights are suspended until the infection has resolved in the reporting party’s household.
Further provisions of the Order include daily contact with child/children through electronic means; a procedure to use in the event the reporting party in custody is unable to supervise young children due to essential employment obligations; and a procedure whereby parties whose physical custody rights are suspended may file an emergency petition if they believe the notice was given in bad faith.
If you believe that either you or your co-parenting counterpart may be subject to this unprecedented Order, it is highly advisable that you contact a skilled and experienced family law attorney immediately to ensure your rights and your safety are protected.
Amir M. Stark, Esquire of the law firm of Penglase & Benson, Inc. practices family law in Bucks and all surrounding counties. He is available for telephone consultations during and throughout the coronavirus emergency and may be reached on his personal cell phone during this time at (215) 275-2919.