If you are self-isolating or under quarantine due to Covid-19, you may wonder whether you need to facilitate parenting time exchanges. We recommend compliance with all existing court orders and this means facilitating parenting time exchanges despite the unusual circumstances. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to self-isolate or quarantine your child, there is provision in s.61 of the Family Law Act for denying parenting time due to illness, provided a medical note is made available. We suggest doing an online Covid-19 screening assessment at first instance to see if you should be denying parenting time due to Covid-19 and then following the advice of medical professionals. If you deny parenting time due to Covid-19, we suggest agreeing on a makeup parenting time schedule once your child is cleared from quarantine.
Denial of Parenting Time due to Covid-19
Another question is whether you can deny parenting time due to your spouses’ failure to take Covid-19 precautions seriously? The short answer is no, and our advice is to comply with all court orders and agreements. Remember, at some stage a judge may review the decisions you are making now. Try talking with your co-parent and agreeing on measures to prevent your child from exposure to Covid-19.
In Chrisjohn v. Hillier, a mother refused to return the child to father on the basis that the father was not practicing social distancing. The father gave proof he was self-isolating and the judge in turn ordered the child be returned to father with police enforcement clause.
Similarly, in Zee v. Quon, March 27, 2020, the father refused to return the child to mother on the basis that the mother was a healthcare practitioner and therefore exposing the child potentially to the Covid-19 virus, even though the mother was on vacation and provided the court with a letter from her employer stating the mother was on vacation and nobody in the healthcare facility had been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. The judge ordered child returned to mother with police enforcement clause.
If you have grounds to belief that your child’s health may be jeopardized by facilitating parenting time, try to first agree upon a reasonable Skype, WhatsApp or FaceTime schedule during the mandatory quarantine period. This may be the case if your ex is displaying symptoms of Covid-19 or has recently travelled outside of Canada, or has been in contact with another person who has tested positive for Covid-19.
Failing agreement, British Columbia family law courts are open for urgent matters, such as access to / and or protection of children. If you wish to deny parenting time due to Covid-19 and your co-parent refuses to agree on interim arrangements, we suggest making an urgent court application changing parenting access for the short term.
Our team at Nasser Allan is available to make any urgent court application necessary for the safety of your children and family. There have been no disruption to our services, we are a forward-thinking law firm and have the systems in place work remote whenever needed. We care about our clients in these financially challenging times and are now offering free 15 minute consultations to everyone in need.
If you wish to discuss denying parenting time due to Covid-19 or any other matter, contact us now at [email protected].