sharing child custody during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated many people’s reassessment of their and their family’s pre-pandemic schedules and routines. For separated parents, a question that has certainly permeated their thoughts during the pandemic is: should my children still be travelling between my home and their other parent’s home?

This is a daunting and unfamiliar time, and it is understandable that parents may be concerned that their children may be exposed to the virus when they are travelling between households sometimes multiple times per week. However, the courts have generally held that existing parenting arrangements should continue to be followed, unless there are very good reasons as to why they should be departed from.

Generally, unless a parent is carelessly exposing their children to the virus by, for example, wilfully not following public health directives, then the courts have found that children should continue to travel between their parent’s households during the pandemic, with any necessary modifications to account for changes in work schedules, school schedules, etc.

Sadly, as the courts have increasingly seen since the outbreak, some parents are taking advantage of the pandemic to force a change to existing parenting arrangements, or to maliciously keep their children away from their other parent.  The courts have exhibited no tolerance for such behaviour, and have made it clear that parents must not manipulate COVID-19 protocols to suit their own interests. The courts have also stipulated that they may later take such malicious actions into account when making future decisions regarding the children.

It is understandable that tensions and stress are running high at this unprecedented time. Regardless, it is important, now more than ever, for parents to put aside their differences for the sake of their children, and work together instead. This is not the time to utilize a global pandemic as a weapon, where the primary parties that will inevitably be caught in the crossfire are the children.