Co-Parenting During COVID-19
Q: I have a divorce order that provides me with regular access to my children. My spouse is refusing to let me see the children due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I am not infected, and I am not subject to a requirement to self-isolate or self-quarantine. Can my spouse do that?
A: These are uncertain and unprecedented times. I and my firm wish for the health and safety of our community and all the people of the world. Despite the state of emergency imposed by the Province of Ontario, existing court orders must still be adhered to and respected. A parent might feel that he or she is protecting the children by keeping them from the other parent, but the other parent still has rights as defined in a court order. Law and order must continue. There is still a legal process that must be followed, and we are not to take the law into our own hands. The courts, including family courts, have been closed until further notice. However, the courts are still hearing urgent or emergency matters. A parent denied time with children may be able to proceed to court on an urgent basis to ensure his or her rights are preserved. Of course, exchange of children is to take place in a safe manner that ensures the children cannot come in contact with the COVID-19 virus, following the recommendations of experts and our governments, e.g. proper hand washing, hand sanitizer, social distancing from others, etc. We do a lot of family/divorce law. Our offices remain open to help clients as lawyers have been deemed an essential service. I am happy to provide you with a free ½ hour consultation. Be healthy and safe one and all.