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Parenting time during COVID-19

Parenting time during COVID-19

Posted by Graeme Maitland — filed in Family Law

A recent decision out of Ontario deals with parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Justice A. Pazaratz, writing as a triage judge in Ribeiro v Wright, has made a ruling that lays out when parenting time maybe curtailed due to COVID-19.

The Facts

The parties had joint custody of their nine year old son with primary residence with the Mother. The Father always had access and was currently seeing the child ever other weekend.

The Mother, concerned that the Father would not practice social distancing, and currently social distancing herself with the child, argued that the child shouldn’t leave her care and her home.

The Decision

The Judge instructed the parties to balance the health of the child with their best interests to see both parents. The Mother did not prove that the Father would not adhere to social distancing and her application was dismissed.

Parenting Time Rules

The Court was clear that the default should be that parenting time continue as per standing court orders. However, there were three major conditions that would cause the court to reconsider the orders:

  1. If the parent is subject to some specific personal restriction (e.g. is under a 14 day quarantine after returning to the country)
  2. If the parent has personal risk factors that may require controls with respect to direct contact with the child(ren) (e.g. the parent, through employment, is potentially exposed to the virus)
  3. If the parent’s behavior is counter to public health warnings and they are failing to take reasonable steps to prevent the spread of the virus and recklessly are exposing their child to risk (e.g. not following public health orders to self-isolate)

If you would like legal advice regarding parenting time and access, contact a lawyer at Aarbo Fuldauer LLP in Calgary.

Address: 3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4

Phone: (403) 571-5120

Email: [email protected]

The information in the blog is not legal advice. Do not treat or rely upon it as legal advice.  If you require legal assistance, please contact a lawyer.
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