Covid-19 is a novel and uncertain time for parents trying to self-isolate while caring for their children and families. For many, continuing with parenting arrangements and Covid-19 seems risky, especially if the current parenting arrangement and Covid-19 involves frequent transitions between two households. However, the fact that there is a pandemic should not, in itself, prevent a parent from continuing to meet their parenting arrangements.
First and foremost, your child’s safety and wellbeing is the paramount consideration when considering parenting arrangements and Covid-19. This includes not only your child’s health and safety, but also the heath of your child’s caregivers and other family members in the household in which your child resides. Your current parenting schedule may need to be reevaluated depending on each parent’s health, extenuating circumstances and the changing Provincial Health Officer’s orders. However, this does not mean that parenting arrangements and Covid-19 is, in itself, a justification to prevent a parent from continuing with their current parenting schedule. This however is pending symptoms or extenuating circumstances related to parenting arrangements and Covid-19 as set out below.
Remember, each parent is under a duty to continue with parenting arrangements and obligations as set out under any Orders or Agreement, unless there is a risk of transmission of Covid-19. In saying that, there may be situations where due to Covid-19, your child’s parenting arrangement should be re-evaluated.
When to change Parenting Arrangements due to Covid-19?
Our family law lawyers remain open and available to discuss your urgent parenting arrangement and Covid-19. If you feel your current parenting arrangement increases the risk of Covid-19 transmission to your child, send us an email at [email protected].
Situations where you might want to reconsider parenting arrangements and Covid-19 include the following (this list is not exhaustive):
- If either parent or household member has been in contact with an infected Covid-19 party;
- If either parent themselves or household member are infected with Covid-19;
- If either parent or household member suspects they may have been infected with Covid-19, whether or not they have been tested;
- If either parent or household member are displaying symptoms consistent with Covid-19;
- If either parent is in a home with individuals who are immuno-compromised then the child should not be present in that home;
- If either parent or household member is an Essential Services or still working with the public (ie. doctors, nurses, attendant at supermarket, pharmacy, flight attendant, etc), this may be an increased risk to the child.
Discuss Your Parenting Arrangement and Covid-19
This is a time when both parents need to put their children’s best interest first and discuss openly with co-parents how each parent is addressing the legitimate risk factors at play, which include parenting arrangements and Covid-19. Both parents need to talk to each other about what they will do if either of them or any member of their household develops Covid-19 or symptoms. In circumstances where parenting arrangements and Covid-19 are a concern, we recommend generous FaceTime, Skype or WhatsApp video calls.
It is important to remember that the decisions you make now may be reviewed at a later date by a Judge. Adverse consequences may result in the future if either parent is not able to justify failing to meet their parenting arrangements or obligations due to Covid-19. As much as possible, both parents should try to act in accordance with existing Orders and Agreements. If you have questions, we are here to provide advice and assistance during these uncertain times.
Family Law Lawyers are Essential Service Providers
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. Contact us now at [email protected].
If you wish to read more about how parenting arrangements and Covid-19 is impacting our legal system, click here.