Parenting Covid-19


BC Family Law Courts are being asked to consider parenting arrangements in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, as schedules are being affected nationwide by physical distancing, quarantines and nationwide school closures.? While courts in BC? have suspended all non-urgent hearings, access to children and decisions relating to parenting time schedules are still being heard on an urgent basis, as covered in our previous blog post. Our Vancouver family law lawyers understand that parenting arrangements may need to be varied due to Covid-19.? We have the systems in place to provide fully remote assistance, including remote court applications. Contact our Vancouver family lawyers now on [email protected].

Can I deny parenting to my ex due to Covid-19?

The decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ribeiro v. Wright 2020 ONSC 1829, provides some helpful guidance on how courts are likely to view applications to vary parenting time due to Covid-19 concerns. In this case, the parties 9-year old son lived primarily with the mother and the father had parenting time on alternating weekends.? The mother applied to court to suspend the father’s parenting time due to her Covid-19 fears.? In particular, the mother had a concern that the father would not maintain social distancing during the father’s parenting access.? The mother was self-isolating and did? not want the child to leave her home for any reason,? including the father’s parenting time. The court did not allow the application to proceed to hearing, noting:

  • The health, safety and well-being of children and families remains the court?s foremost consideration during COVID-19.? This is an extremely difficult and stressful period for everyone.
  • There is a presumption that all orders should be respected and complied with, including those dealing with parenting time.
  • This is uncharted territory for our court system.? We are in extraordinary times; and that our daily routines and activities will for the most part have to be suspended, in favor of a strict policy of social distancing and limiting community interactions as much as possible
  • We all have to work together to show flexibility, creativity and common sense ? to promote both the physical and emotional well-being of children.
  • In many respects we are going to have to put our lives ?on hold? until COVID-19 is resolved.? But children?s lives ? and vitally important family relationships ? cannot be placed ?on hold? indefinitely without risking serious emotional harm and upset.? A blanket policy that children should never leave their primary residence ? even to visit their other parent ? is inconsistent with a comprehensive analysis of the best interests of the child.? In troubling and disorienting times, children need the love, guidance and emotional support of both parents, now more than ever.
  • In most situations there should be a presumption that existing parenting arrangements and schedules should continue, subject to whatever modifications may be necessary to ensure that all COVID-19 precautions are adhered to ? including strict social distancing.
  • In some cases, custodial or access parents may have to forego their times with a child, if the parent is subject to some specific personal restriction (for example, under self-isolation for a 14 day period as a result of recent travel; personal illness; or exposure to illness).??
  • In some cases a parent?s lifestyle or behaviour in the face of COVID-19 (for example, failing to comply with social distancing; or failing to take reasonable health-precautions) may raise sufficient concerns about parental judgment that direct parent-child contact will have to be reconsidered.? There will be zero tolerance for any parent who recklessly exposes a child (or members of the child?s household) to any COVID-19 risk.
  • In blended family situations, parents will need assurance that COVID-19 precautions are being maintained in relation to each person who spends any amount of time in a household ? including children of former relationships.


When will Court’s consider an Application to Vary Parenting Time Due to Covid -19?

Applications to vary or suspend parenting time due to Covid-19 concerns will? be considered by the courts on a case-by-case basis.? The applicant will need to show:

    1. ? The parent initiating an urgent motion on this topic will be required to provide specific evidence or examples of behavior or plans by the other parent which are inconsistent with COVID-19 protocols.
    2. Both parents will be required to provide very specific and realistic time-sharing proposals which fully address all COVID-19 considerations, in a child-focused manner.
    3. Judges will likely take judicial notice of the fact that social distancing is now becoming both commonplace and accepted, given the number of public facilities which have now been closed.? This is a very good time for both custodial and access parents to spend time with their child at home.

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].

Contact our Vancouver Family Lawyers

?Laura quickly came up to speed on my file and was able to gather precisely what had gone wrong with our previous lawyer and how to correct the situation. She was realistic, honest and upfront ? qualities hard to find in legal representation. She represented facts, but also, for the first time in our year and a half ordeal, our lived experience was represented. Laura made us feel cared for and truly represented in court.? ?Nassim was an excellent Lawyer. She helped us settle our case with ease. The result was greater than we expected in such short time. She was knowledgeable, informative and an absolute pleasure to work with. I would recommend her to anyone looking to for a family lawyer to get the job done.? ?Laura is a very experienced family law litigator and she is one of the few family law lawyers out there that won?t waste your time or money.? Laura took care of my case and achieved an excellent result.? From start to finish, the communication, care and knowledge of my case was outstanding. I highly recommend Laura Allan to anyone looking for a top lawyer.? ?I was fully satisfied with service and attention provided. I am happy to give great positive review for Nassim and can recommend her services to my friends and family. She is a true start professional with exceptional knowledge and attention to details.? I hope to collaborate with her in near future.”

Nasser Allan LLP COVID-19 Protocols

Our firm is fully operational and ready to assist with the resolution of all the family issues. We understand that legal services are essential and family matters cannot be placed “on hold.” We now conduct mediation sessions via teleconference or Zoom. Court hearing are mostly conducted over the phone or video with trials requiring in person attendance.

We are open from 9 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday and are available after hours and weekends by appointment.

Our family lawyers are available to discuss your matter over the phone, via video conferencing or email in line with the health protocols.

We are also available to meet with you in person by appointment. We will follow all public safety measures. At this time, we kindly ask that you wear a mask during your in person meetings with our family lawyers.

Nasser Allan LLP is here for you at this critical time!

Contact us to move your family matter forward.

Telephone: 604-620-8682

Email: [email protected]