Navigating the Covid-19 pandemic has been very difficult this past year for most; however, it has been particularly difficult for children that have parents in two separate households.

If you are involved in a parenting dispute with your former partner, it is imperative that you comply with all parenting orders that you are subject to, notwithstanding concerns about Covid-19. Covid-19 has resulted in multiple parents attempting to manipulate a parenting schedule in the “face of Covid-19,” citing concerns about non-compliance with Health Directives, and fears of transmission.

Please note that failure to comply with a court order can result in a finding of contempt of court. All Judges expect that court orders are followed, and any failure to comply with a court order can result in severe penalties, such as imprisonment, restrictions on procedural rights, termination of parenting time, or a fine. If you and your partner are deviating from a parenting order due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is always best to confirm changes in writing in case there is ever a future dispute.

If one parent tests positive for Covid-19 or if a child has to self-isolate, it is recommended to make up any parenting time that is missed (once safe to do so). Further, while in isolation, it is recommended to increase telephone, FaceTime or Skype contact to ensure the child still continues to have regular contact with the other parent.

On top of it all, this pandemic has resulted in continual school closures, child care facilities being shut down, and extracurricular activities being suspended. This is a very stressful time for most people, so it is encouraged to give your former partner the benefit of the doubt. The best interests of the child should come first, including a consideration for which parent can fulfil the educational development of the child, and the childcare needs of the child.

We suggest you stay informed of all ongoing Covid-19 health directives, as the Covid-19 pandemic is dynamic. If you are showing symptoms of Covid-19, contact 8-1-1, and consult with a medical professional.  If you are involved in a parenting dispute, please feel free to direct any questions to Christina Matthews, Family Lawyer of Macphail Harding.