Q: Ex wife is not allowing daughter to visit this summer, claiming too risky b/c of COVID?
My 7 year old daughter lives with her mom in CA. I live across the country. We have a custody arrangement in place, but as far as visitation, the judge never issued a concrete order for exact visitation dates when we divorced. He hoped we'd "come to an agreement." So each year we have just been adjusting how long she comes to stay, but the arrangement is that she comes each summer. She was supposed to come June 12 for 6 weeks but last minute my ex decided to tell me she was uncomfortable with sending her on a plane. So not going to have summer visit. She has said "maybe" for a few weeks in the fall or winter. When I asked her to come to a written agreement, she has completely avoided me. I then find out she took my daughter to a bday party where she played with other kids she doesn't know. Now they are planning summer camping trips. Shes using the pandemic to keep her from me. I can file for a new order, but court said no fam law hearings til Jan. Is there anything else I can do?
A: It's unfortunate that your judgment lacks details regarding the parameters of visitation. It makes it difficult to put a finger on any specific violation resulting from Mom's behavior. That being said, there are no laws in place here in California that allow a parent to use Covid-19 as a reason to prevent or otherwise interfere with visitation. I recommend you seek a modification of your existing orders, reserve the January hearing date, then "file" an ex parte application for an order advancing that hearing date so that it will be heard sooner. The alternative is contempt.
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