Custody and parenting time in COVID-19 Coronavirus
Divorced parents who co-parent have wondered how parenting time issues will be effected with the Michigan State lockdown and the shut down of schools and other child care facilities, in addition to non essential businesses. Hopefully the impact will be minimal at best. In doing so, please keep these tips in mind when co parenting during these times, in the case of sharing joint legal custody:
- First and foremost, continue a normal coparenting relationship. When picking up or dropping off a minor child or children, please stay in your car if possible and try to engage in appropriate social distancing. Please do not force yourself upon any person, place or thing for the reason of “convenience.” Please do not have playdates or sleepover with children during the lock down period and it is deemed safe to do so. Health and safety come first before convenience.
- Note that in family law, the courts are presently open for emergency matters only in relation to custody, parenting time and support. Emergency matters are restricted to those where a child could face irreparable physical or mental harm from a parent or guardian and custody and parenting time have to be restricted, or some other extreme issue, or in relation to the need for a payor of child support to pay an arrearage to a payee of support in the case of extreme financial distress, among other exceptions.
- Engage and/or practice healthy co parenting communication via text, email and phone if necessary. Now is a good time to discuss ways to improve the co parenting relationship and optimize the environment of both custodial homes for the benefit and best interest of the minor child or children. In the event of a dispute, it is unlikely your case will be seen in front of a judge for the foreseeable future depending on how conditions improve and whether the flow of cases clogs up the courts or not. There is the potential for a flood of cases to be filed with the court once the mandatory lockdown restrictions are lifted and people are free to move around without fear of contagion.
- Provide the other parent with reasonable updates of any minor child’s health condition if there is a health concern. Symptoms and methods for resolving symptoms include but are not limited to: over the counter medicine and prescription drugs; these health concerns shall be communicated in a type and form sufficient to keep the other parent adequately informed and updated. Both parents should be informed of and given the opportunity to attend any doctor or dentist visit during this time. It should not be considered impolite or rude to ask if another co parent or their family is healthy or exhibiting symptoms of the virus.
Please contact the Marchese Law Firm to set up a free consultation regarding present issues of custody, legal and physical, parenting time, support or other family law issues. We serve primarily Oakland and Macomb counties and the areas of Rochester, Rochester Hills, Troy, Oakland, Lake Orion, Shelby Twp., Washington, and Macomb, among others.