Coronavirus used in Stroud custody battle emergency order

Coronavirus

STROUD, Okla. (KFOR) – A woman has taken to social media saying her children were taken and put in her husband’s custody based, in part, to her alleged proximity to COVID-19.

She posted a photo of the order made by a Sac and Fox Nation District Court judge granted the order, saying it was made “due to respondent’s exposure to Coronavirus. The Petitioner, alleged and submitted documents, that the respondent alleged proximity to Coronavirus.” 

“It’s difficult for me to foresee a scenario where just because someone works in the medical field, that’s a viable reason to take away their kids,” said Oklahoma City family law attorney Brian Putnam.  

Putnam doesn’t practice tribal law and said one would need to know more about this case to speak to it specifically, but said there are likely other circumstances that helped the judge come to this judge’s decision. He also pointed out that the order cites the mother’s alleged proximity to coronavirus, and not simply her mode of employment.

“Oklahoma has an enormous medical community so if you play that out to its logical conclusion, everybody in the medical field would be at risk of losing their kids in a custody battle just because they work in a medical facility,” Putnam said.

The court document goes on to state the decision was made in part by “a proffered history of alleged neglect by the respondent,” allegations the mother denied on the post.

She did, however, say that the children’s father has been charged with domestic abuse by strangulation by another woman, and that both have filed protective orders against him, all of which have since been dismissed.

News 4 spoke to the judge assigned to the case who declined to be interviewed on camera. He said it wouldn’t be proper to discuss the facts of the case. He even put a gag order on all parties because he said there has been a lot of misinformation circulating about the details of the case. 

When asked whether courts would be considering possible exposure to coronavirus in cases like this, he said judges will have to consider all the facts, whatever they are.

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