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Florida Judge Rules ER Doctor Can’t Have Custody Of Child Due To COVID-19 Risk

A father has won temporary full custody of his daughter because of his ex-wife’s profession: She is an emergency room doctor working during the COVID-19 pandemic and, according to a Florida judge, risks infecting their child.

“I feel like the family court system now is stressing me almost more than the virus,” Dr. Theresa Greene, who tested negative this week, told Miami’s NBC station.

“We are there on the front lines, we are risking our lives — to take our children away from us … It’s just so cruel,” said Greene, who is appealing the decision. “I can’t come home and hug my daughter.”

She called the ruling discriminatory because her child wouldn’t be removed from her home if she was married.

Greene had shared equal custody of her 4-year-old daughter with her ex-husband. But earlier this week, he filed for sole custody until the pandemic is over. He believes the doctor’s “significantly heightened exposure to COVID-19” puts their daughter at risk, according to court documents.

Circuit Judge Bernard Shapiro ruled that “in order to protect the best interests of the minor child … this Court temporarily suspends the Former Wife’s timesharing until further Order of Court. The suspension is solely related to the outbreak of COVID-19.”

Greene told the NBC affiliate on Friday that she was “shocked that the judge would take this stance without talking to medical experts and knowing the facts — and take it so lightly that he could just take my child from me and not think about that effect on her, and her mental and psychological well-being.”

The American Medical Association offers guidelines for health care workers to protect their families from the coronavirus when returning home from work. 

Greene said she knows of other health care professionals who are facing similar situations.

“First responders, nurses, so many people in this position who, because they’re divorced … they’re being told they can’t see” their children, Greene said. “And it’s just not fair.”

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