Co-parenting Recommendations for the COVID-19 Crisis, A Mediator’s Perspective
May 15, 2020
- Current orders remain in place until modified, either by consent or by the court: While government and health officials have stressed the need to stay at home, the presumption is that existing parenting arrangements should continue in the majority of cases because access to both parents is vital for a child’s emotional well being. There is a presumption that the existing order reflects a determination that meaningful personal contact with both parents is in the best interests of the child. Parents do need to ensure that transportation and exchange arrangements do not put the child or the parties in harm’s way.
- What about special COVID-19 risk situations? These may include where a child has special needs or an underlying conditions that makes them vulnerable, where one or both parents is an essential worker or medical professional, where a household has a confirmed case of the virus, or a household where someone in either home is immunocompromised or quarantined. In these situations, it may not make sense to the child to have physical time with that parent or the other or their respective household(s). If the parents cannot agree on how to proceed, family law attorneys are urged to try and assist their clients by bringing these issues to mediation and parenting coordination, before filing motions in court.
Richard Smukler, Mediator/Arbitrator