Florida Judge Denies Mother’s Request for Temporary Custody Over COVID-19 Concerns

The COVID-19 virus has raised many concerns for parents, especially those that are divorced or separated and are required to share custody of their children. Many worry that their child could be exposed to the virus if their child’s other parent isn’t taking precautionary measures and/or if they work in a field where they are at a higher risk of contracting it. In fact, because the concern has developed into fear, many parents have begun turning to the legal system to get their child custody agreements modified until the pandemic is no longer a serious threat to the U.S.

A few weeks ago, the Orlando Sentinel reported on a case involving a mother who was seeking temporary custody of her 21-month-old son. The news source said that because the child’s father, Stephen Thilmony, works as a firefighter/EMT with Osceola County Fire Rescue, Tabatha Sams, the boy’s mother, requested that she be awarded temporary custody in an effort protect him from exposure to the coronavirus. Prior to the pandemic, Sams and Thilmony were splitting their time with their son, Dawson James Thilmony.

Before Sams sought help from the court, she allegedly asked Thilmony to allow their son to stay with her because of his line of work. After Thilmony refused to give up his parenting time, Sams submitted a custody request to the courts. After Orange County Circuit Judge Vincent S. Chiu was assigned to the case, he rejected Sams’ request. According to Chiu, “there was no evidence [that indicated that] Thilmony was failing to take proper safety precautions or otherwise acting in a way that would endanger Dawson.” The judge also acknowledged Thilmony’s testimony which stated that “OCFR employs extensive policies and procedures to avoid exposure to COVID-19.”

After denying the mother’s request, Chiu also ordered the parents to attend teleconferenced mediation to determine a temporary parenting plan.


Is your child’s other parent trying to obtain temporary custody of your kids?


Whether it is because of the COVID-19 virus or because they are seeking custody for other reasons, you need to ensure your parental rights are protected. The St. Petersburg, FL child custody attorneys at The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet understand how daunting the thought of losing your kids is which is why they are available to help. If you live in St. Petersburg, FL and you are worried that you could lose some or all of the custody time you were already awarded, it’s time you contact The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet to speak with a St. Petersburg, FL child custody lawyer.


The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet has an office located at:


855 Central Avenue, Suite 1005

St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Phone: 727-480-6211

Website: www.yeazellandsweetlaw.com

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