Parenting with COVID-19
In these times of uncertainty with Covid-19, Main Street Law LLP clients wonder how it impacts their parental rights and responsibilities and whether they are in a position to deny parenting time on account of social distancing. As parents, together differences need to be set aside and parents need to communicate cooperatively with each other to protect their children. That said, existing Court Orders addressing parenting time remain in place and enforceable and there is a presumption that all existing Court Orders should be respected and complied with. Perhaps more importantly is the presumption that existing Court Orders reflect a determination of what is in the children’s best interests.
A However, the increasingly strict policies of social distancing are leaving parents confused, uncertain and worried about what to do. There will be cases where parents’ personal risk factors or their lifestyle and/or behaviours will raise concerns in the other parent. And while it is likely there will be zero tolerance for any parent who recklessly exposes a child to any Covid-19 risk, no matter what the challenges are, we have to all find a way to work together to find ways to safely maintain these vitally important parental relationships. A parent’s concern about a Covid-19 issue may or may not be viewed as urgent; it cannot be presumed that any court application will result in the automatic suspension of a parent’s in-person parenting time. Courts need parents to act prudently and attempt to resolve their conflict on their own, through mutual respect, good faith efforts of communication, and ability to generate creative sand realistic proposals to manage this Covid-19 conflict. Working together will protect your children and make you a stronger co-parent.
The significant and unprecedented curtailment of court operations that has happened as a result of Covid-19 does not remove a parent’s ability from addressing parenting concerns. There are alternatives to bringing the matter to Court to address your parenting concerns. The legal system is supported by mediators, arbitrators, collaborative lawyers and parenting coordinators who can all assist co-parents navigate these uncharted waters. These alternatives do require the cooperation of both parties to achieve satisfactory resolution, with a good faith willingness to engage in out of court processes.
Our team of Family Law Lawyers at Main Street Law LLP continue to work diligent at this time and will continue to work remotely if needed. We would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and discuss options with you to address your situation. As with all areas of law, being proactive to avoid negative consequences as soon as possible is better than being reactive at a later date.