Los Angeles, CA asked in Family Law for California

Q: My sons father is threatening me saying that if our son happens to get COVID that he will take him from me for a long

Time and take legal action. Can he say that to me? Is that allowed

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2 Lawyer Answers
Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
Answered
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Both father and mother must take good care of the child, including the health of the child. However children get sick all the time for different reasons. They get colds, they get the flu, they fall and skin their knees. Does that mean the parent is a bad parent? No. So just because your son gets Covid doesn't mean that you are a bad mother. It doesn't mean automatically that the father is going to be able to take the child away from you. It's up to the judge look after the best interests of the child. It is very rare that one incident of a child getting sick (including Covid) is enough reason for the child to be taken away. The answer could be different if there is a consistent pattern of not taking care of the child. For example if you don't take the child to the doctor when he is sick, or don't take the child to the dentist when he needs dental work, that is more serious. So if your son gets Covid, take him to the doctor and get treatment, just like you would for any other disease.

So it sounds like you and the father are not married. It also sounds like you have not been to court yet. If you have a court case already, then disregard what I am saying next. If you don't have a case yet, and you are not married to the father, you need to file a "Paternity" case. If you are married to the father, you need to file a child custody case or a divorce if you want to be divorced. Once you get to court, the judge will decide IN A COURT ORDER who gets custody, who gets visitation with dates and times so you will know exactly when it is your time with the child and when it is his time with the child. If you don't have a court order like this, you should get one. Once you get a court order for custody and visitation, the other parent can't just come and pick up the child if it is not his time.

All 58 counties in California have some type of Self-Help Center. The people at the Self-Help Center help you fill out family law forms for free. They can’t do everything in family law, but they will help you with all the basics. The downside is that they don’t have a lot of time to spend with you, and often there is a line to get in to see them. The upside is that it is free. So if you have more time than money, go to the Self-Help Center for divorce, custody, visitation, paternity and domestic violence paperwork. But if you want a more thorough in-depth help, it is recommended that you see a family law attorney. Many family law attorneys have a free first interview. Some charge only $50. Some $75 or $100. It only takes a phone call to their office to find out the fee for the first interview. There is no obligation to hire an attorney to do anything after the first interview. That’s up to you. Also there is no requirement that you talk to an attorney in your area. Any family law attorney licensed in California can help you no matter where you live as long as it is in the state or your case is filed in California. The interview would be done by phone, Zoom, Skype, Facetime or some other type online method. Even if the attorney is in your area, many attorneys are only talking to people this way due to the Covid pandemic, so you couldn’t have an interview in their office anyway. Also attorneys are going to give you a more-in-depth analysis of your situation than you will get at the Self-Help Center. So call an attorney and set up an appointment.

When you ask a question online, like here, the answers you get are only going to be basic information, a starting point. Attorneys are trained to talk to you to find out all the important details of your story. Getting all the details is very important because it will make a big difference in the legal information given to you. It is strongly recommended that even if you get a response here on Justia, that you also talk to an attorney. Many have free first interviews.

Mike Darlington
Mike Darlington
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Shingletown, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To answer the question you asked, he can certainly say that to you people are allowed to say any dumb things they want. That does not make the statement true.

The courts are taking cases involving the coronavirus crisis on a case by case basis and not giving exceptional orders at this point regarding the issues of custody and visitation. However the prior attorney is correct you should probably talk to someone you can lay out all the details to to get a better fix on where you stand under your personal circumstances.

I hope you and your child remain safe through these times.

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