COVID-19: Family Law Implications for Parenting During COVID-19

Posted April 7, 2020

Parents are confronting scary and overwhelming uncertainty right now in facilitating access of children between homes and ensuring the health and safety of their families. With court hearings restricted to urgent matters, it is incumbent upon parents to be as flexible and amicable as possible as they navigate parenting schedules during this health crisis. Family courts are encouraging counsel to be settlement-oriented and some family law mediators/arbitrators have reduced their rates and increased hours to provide families with access to mediations to resolve temporary parenting issues. The provisions regarding signing minutes of settlement and interim agreements have also been modified to help families resolve their disputes as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The child’s best interest remains the overriding factor. Existing agreements should be adhered to as much as possible and disrupted only if there is sufficient evidence that the child’s health and safety are at risk. Families should follow recommended protocols with respect to COVID-19, including hand washing, social distancing, limiting exposure to other individuals and use of sanitizers and other protective products. Where possible, one parent should be doing the grocery shopping for both homes to maintain social distancing protocols and to ensure the health and safety of their family.  Parents are encouraged to maintain the child’s routine in both homes. The child’s life is already significantly disrupted due to no schooling, lack of organized activities, social events, time spent with friends, etc. Children will benefit from the continuing care and support of both parents.

Family courts remain accessible for families in domestic violence situations. We are vigilant in ensuring that the safety of families is not put at risk during these times.

For more information, please contact our Family Law Partner Melanie Battaglia.

Note: This article provides general information only and does not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice or opinion. PooranLaw Professional Corporation holds the copyright to this article and the article and its contents may not be copied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of PooranLaw Professional Corporation.