We handle family and divorce cases.
Our courts began operating far differently than usual, beginning in March, 2020, and they continue to still do so today. This process began when Governor Abbott issued a disaster proclamation on March 13, 2020, “certifying that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas.” He authorized the suspension of the normal rules and procedures for the “conduct of state business… that would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster.” Following that declaration, both The Supreme Court of Texas, and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, issued their “First Emergency Order Regarding The Covid-19 State Of Disaster,” which drastically changed the way that Texas courts operate.1 Texas courts are, however, and have been, open and operating, albeit differently than they did prior to March 13, 2020.
Many courts are not currently operating as they did before during this shutdown. They are, however, open, and processing some cases. Here, in Texas, our state courts are holding “essential” hearings, via Zoom. Essential hearings, in the context of Texas Family Law cases, consist of those concerning matters such as temporary restraining orders, CPS child removal, and applications for protective orders (due to allegations of family violence). All others, such as routine divorce temporary orders hearings, are presently not occurring before June 1, 2020.
It was reported earlier this week that with the number of Covid-19 corona virus cases increasing, the 11 regional presiding judges in Texas earlier this week began appointing judges within their respective region to be available to process cases where infected people refused to self-quarantine. The Texas Office of Court Administration is in charge of this project. When can someone be forced into quarantine, and what are the criteria for making that decision? That is what we will discuss today.
Since there have been no reported cases in Texas where a person infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus has refused to self-quarantine, this week’s actions are merely precautionary. According to personnel at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas who I spoke with on March 5, 2020, they have previously had to require patients infected with tuberculosis to be quarantined, when those patients refused to self-quarantine themselves. So, the potential refusal of a patient infected with Covid-19 to self-quarantine should not be surprising.
We have previously written about parenting with a high conflict ex, (parts 1-4). Those articles can be found here. In one of those articles, we discussed when a Parenting Facilitator or Parenting Coordinator can be appointed, and the process of obtaining parenting facilitation. In this article, we will discuss the work of the Parenting Facilitator (PF) or Parenting Coordinator (PC), and the necessary qualifications of these professionals. The difference between the PC and PF is whether the proceedings are confidential. For our purposes today, we will refer to both processes as “Parenting Facilitation” done by a “Parenting Facilitator” or “PF.”
Child Protection Services (CPS) exists, and is often needed, to protect children from abuse or neglect. When it is not safe for a child to live with a parent, then we, as a society, need to have the ability to protect those children, by removing them from their homes, and placing them somewhere safe. That is our law. When only parent is the problem, however, the application of that law to the innocent parent can be unfair.