New Kaufman County Coronavirus Family Law Custody Order

Courts are working to head off problems with custody orders caused by the Coronavirus.  If you have a custody order you must keep up with these orders, since they apply to you. The most recent order on family cases in Kaufman County is from March 25th.

Standing Order Governing Possession and Access During the Shelter in Place Order of Kaufman County Judge Signed March 24, 2020

For all cases arising from the Family Law Courts of Kaufman County, the Court ORDERS that:

1. Governor Abbott previously declared a state of disaster in all 254 counties in the State of Texas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. On March 24, 2020 Kaufman County Judge issued a “Shelter in Place” Order. Hereinafter this order shall be referred to as the “Kaufman County Shelter in Place Order.”

3. This order applies to all possession orders in Suits Affecting the Parent-Child Relationship in the 86th District Court, 422nd District Court, County Court at Law, and County Court at Law #2. For purposes of the Kaufman County Shelter in Place Order, exchanges relating to the possession and access of children are considered Essential Activities and shall continue as set out in this Court’s current orders. Parties shall follow the provisions of their orders unless specifically modified by further order of the Court.

4. Subject to any applicable restrictions set forth in any municipal, county, or state emergency order, a person’s right to possession and access shall continue pursuant to the terms of their current court order.

5. If a person has been diagnosed with, or has reason to believe they have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus, that person shall communicate with the other parent or conservator(s) to discuss any actions necessary to protect the safety and welfare of the children.

6. Subject to the restrictions set forth in any municipal, county, or state emergency order, nothing herein prevents parties from altering a possession scheduled by agreement, if allowed by their court order(s).

7. Absent further order of the Court, this Order is effective as of March 24, 2020, and expires upon the termination of the Kaufman County Shelter in Place Order.

So what does this mean?

  1. If you have a custody order from any court in Kaufman County then this applies.
  2. Most court orders allow modifications by agreement. So if you can, work out possession issues with the other parent or guardian. Courts are limiting what can be heard right now, so if you can’t work it out you may not get a court date for a while.
  3. Shelter in Place (SIP) orders do not change your possession schedule or custody agreement. Custody exchanges are going to be considered an essential activity in Kaufman County. There is still a question of whether this applies to other cities or State’s order, to that end the Supreme Court of Texas has issued this order that states
    1. “Possession of and access to a child shall not be affected by any shelter-in-place order or other order restricting movement issued by a governmental entity that arises from an epidemic or pandemic, including what is commonly referred to as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
  4. If you have been diagnosed or exposed to COVID 19 you SHALL as is MUST report that to the other party so that the child can be protected. Which any decent person would anyone at this time, so don’t be the parent that goes before the judge for not doing this. It won’t go well.