How do you exercise parenting time during the Coronavirus outbreak and a shelter in place order? We are in uncharted territory. In a time of constant innovation and globalization, society is, in effect, shutting down for the time being. People everywhere are worried about the health of themselves and their loved ones, their jobs, the economy and much more.
Should you continue to exercise parenting time during the Coronavirus outbreak?
The answer is yes, if safe to do so.
Governor Whitmers’ Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19) went into effect on March 23, 2020. The executive Order requires non-essential workers to Stay Home Stay Safe for the next three weeks. However, section 7(b)(4) of the Executive Order allows individuals to travel to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
A lawyer must advise his/her client to follow a court order. However, when doing so would endanger the health of a child or the community at large, don’t do it.
Technology has made adapting to this emergency possible. Video chat and conferencing services such as Zoom.us, Skype, Facebook Live and Facetime provide the ability to foster and nurture a relationship while maintaining “social distance” during this time of emergency.
Custody and parenting time schedules should be followed to the fullest extent possible. These arrangements are made with the best interests of your children in mind. For the foreseeable future, you should continue to follow your agreed upon schedule as closely as you can, even if that means electronically. If both parents feel comfortable with exercising parenting time with the Coronavirus outbreak, continue to do so unless directed otherwise a court or the government. The health and safety of our community response in limiting transmission is paramount.
On March 16, 2020, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a press release on Parenting time during the Coronavirus outbreak providing:
Things to Remember The Supreme Court wants to remind parents that all court orders for a child’s custody, parenting time and support are still in force. Only a new court order can change that. Parents should continue to follow their court order. . .Michigan Court News release, Michigan Supreme Court
The Michigan Supreme Court further provided:
If future government decisions restrict travel or, if a child’s safety is an issue, parents should work together to keep the child’s access to both parents as close to the normal arrangement as possible. . .Michigan Court News release, Michigan Supreme Court.
When this passes (and it will), there will be plenty of time to arrange for make up parenting time. In the interim, stay safe and healthy.
Should you have any questions or concerns about this or other pertinent issues in these tumultuous times, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your family lawyer or local Friend of the Court for guidance and consultation.
By: Daniel Findling
I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades. The Oakland County Divorce attorneys at Findling Law practice statewide. We share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles. We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.
By: Daniel Findling