Essential Travel includes, “Travel required by…court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
We are operating in uncharted waters as far as what to do and when to do it regarding getting out of the house. However, generally speaking the Court expects you to abide by its Order unless it is unsafe to so do. The Court then expects parents to act reasonably, communicate and make reasonable accommodations.
COVID-19 is NOT an excuse to be a terrible parent.
There are a lot of ways to interact safely; in-person, ( so long as it is safe to do so), Facetime, Zoom, telephone, email, text, video and other electronic means.
Matthew Thompson is a Child Custody lawyer and encourages parents to be reasonable and not try to take advantage of these circumstances. Do what you believe is in the best interests of your child.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has been responsive to the COVID-19 threat and issued a number of Orders regarding same. As the information regarding the virus has changed the Court has made the necessary adjustments. Below is the content of the latest MS Supreme Court Order regarding proceedings throughout Mississippi Courts. Here is a link to all of the Supreme Court Orders, along with other Orders. Source; Mississippi Bar Association.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED:
All courts are urged to limit in-person, courthouse contact as much as possible by utilizing available technologies…
Judges’ offices or court clerks’ offices shall remain accessible by telephone and email, to the extent possible, during regular business hours…
To the extent that … technologies are prohibited, unavailable, or otherwise infeasible, certain in-person proceedings shall continue to be conducted in all local and state courts including, but not limited to:
a. Jury trials currently in progress. b. Department of Child Protection Services emergency matters related to child protection. c. Proceedings directly related to: (1) Protecting the constitutional rights of all persons; (2)Habeas corpus; (3) Emergency child-custody orders; 4) Relief from abuse and orders of protection; (5) Mandatory youth court detention hearings for youth held in custody; (6) Emergency mental-health orders; (7) Emergency protection of elderly or vulnerable persons; (8) Petitions for temporary injunctive relief; (9) Issues involving the COVID-19 public-health emergency; (10) Obtaining arrest and search warrants, and other proceedings required by law enforcement; (11) Ensuring the Mississippi Judiciary has met its constitutional requirements. d. Any other emergency and time-sensitive matters, in the discretion of individual judges.
Each judge is authorized to determine the manner in which necessary in-person proceedings are to be conducted. Any such in-person proceedings shall be limited to attorneys, parties, witnesses, security officers, members of the press, and other necessary persons, as determined by the trial judge.
All other in-person proceedings beyond those mandated under Paragraph 3., in all local and state courts, are subject to the Court’s prior Emergency Administrative Orders.
In the interest of preventing the transmission of COVID-19, personnel should be posted at all public entry points of all courts in the state, and individuals should be prohibited from entry if they have:
a. In the previous 14 days, visited China, Iran, South Korea, any European countries, or any other high-risk countries identified by the CDC, or traveled on a cruise ship; b. Resided with or been in close contact with someone who has been in any of those countries within the previous 14 days; c. Traveled domestically within the United States where COVID-19 has sustained widespread community transmission; d. Been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital, or health agency; e. Been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19; or f. A fever, cough or shortness of breath. Individuals may also be screened for fever through use of a digital forehead and/or ear thermometer.
A case involving an attorney or party who is ill or in a high-risk category shall be rescheduled.
Individuals with legitimate court business who are ill, caring for someone who is ill or in a high-risk category are advised to stay home and request a continuance.
Jurors who are ill, caring for someone who is ill, or in a high-risk category shall have their jury service postponed to a later date.
Bailiffs should discourage congregating outside courtroom doors and encourage social distancing inside the courtroom.
To comply with the CDC’s latest guidance, within the discretion of the trial judge, gatherings may be limited to no more than 10 people.
This Order may be amended, extended, or otherwise modified, as circumstances may dictate.
Matthew Thompson is a Civil Litigation Lawyer in Mississippi and advises you to take necessary precautions concerning COVID-19.