The current COVID-19 pandemic is creating a new sense of normal. Many people may be wondering how the COVID-19 will impact their parenting time. What are you allowed or not allowed to do? For all co-parents, it is important to understand the executive and court orders regarding your parenting time to insure you are operating within the law.
Following Stay-at-Home Executive Orders
As the pandemic progresses, many states have implemented different executive orders. These orders come directly from the governor or president. Failure to follow them may result in criminal penalties and fines. Some states, including Minnesota, have implemented “Shelter-In-Place” or “Stay-at-Home” orders. In many of the orders, a provision protects current parenting time schedules and allows for the transportation of children pursuant to an existing court order. The Shelter-In-Place order may limit what you can do during your parenting time in an effort to decrease your contact with non-household members. For example, you may be prohibited from going to the movies or attending a sports event with your child. However, you are to continue abiding by your order regarding parenting time exchanges. If you do not, you may be at risk for contempt of court, sanctions, court costs, and attorney’s fees.
Maintaining Court Orders
While your agreement may not outline the specifics of parenting through a pandemic, your order should establish when each parent is “on-duty” or “off-duty.” Orders also may include specifics regarding who is responsible when the child is sick or out of school. It is a good idea to review your court order paperwork to insure you understand your obligations and rights. If you are unsure the specifics of your situation, consult our office regarding the language in your order and your obligations under it.
Creating Temporary Agreements
You must abide by court orders unless both parents agree to different temporary parenting time. This unprecedented time calls for some sense of flexibility. Children may be out of school or require assistance with their online schoolwork. Depending on occupations, parents may have extended hours, they may be working from home, or they may be off of work. Schedules may vary. Temporary arrangements to be enforceable need to be drafted by lawyers and signed by Judges. They should be used to meet the unique needs of your family during this pandemic.
Every custody matter is different. If you would like more information or have questions about your specific parenting time arrangement, contact our office today. Our legal team is there to help at 763-323-6555 or by submitting an online inquiry submission on our website.