Affects Covid-19 Had on Parenting Time
In March 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed several executive orders, of these orders the people who were deemed “non-essential” workers could not work, the people were also ordered not to engage in non-essential activities and were ordered to shelter in place and stay home. This caused confusion amongst the majority of individuals who have parenting time orders in place as to what they should do with their children. The big question was does the parenting time schedule still stand during Covid-19?
Section 7(b)(4) of Executive Order 2020-21 stated that people may travel “as required by law enforcement or a court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement.” The Michigan Supreme Court furthered on the matter when it issued a statement that “custody and parenting time orders remain in effect and only a new court order can change that. Parents should continue to follow their court orders.”
We had several requests for changes in parenting time orders. Many parents were worried about the contact another parent may have with the outside public and how that might transmit Covid-19 to the children. It was not enough for the custodial parent to show to the Court that the non-custodial parent is a first responder and more at risk of coming into contact with Covid-19, than the parents who are deemed non-essential and staying at home. This was a major concern for many of our parents.
However, there were cases where sending the children for the parenting time did put the children at risk, of those situations included children flying to get to parenting time and if the child had a high-risk condition.
Many lawyers and the Courts believe that the parents should try and work out the parenting time issues between each other before trying to file a motion before the court. Had the custodial parent had concerns, they should have contacted the other parent offer make-up parenting time and frequent Zoom, Skype or Facetime calls. If the parties could not work together and figure out the parenting time issue and filing a motion was necessary, the parents should contact an attorney to discuss the filing of an emergency motion or a motion that could provide relief.
The Courts are always busy and it was even worse at the onset of the pandemic. The court would always like to see parents attempt to work together to resolve the issue before coming before the Court. It was a difficult year for everyone, as the pandemic winds down and circumstances begin to change, parenting time orders may change once again from what they were during the pandemic and parents may once again need to meet with an attorney to discuss their options moving forward.
The attorneys at Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates are experienced attorneys who change with the times to meet the needs of their clients. Contact the Milford, Michigan law office of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates at 248-676-1000 for assistance. The attorneys of Kathryn Wayne-Spindler & Associates practice law throughout Southeastern Michigan including Oakland, Wayne, Washtenaw, Genesee and Livingston counties. The attorneys handle cases in Milford; Highland; Hartland; White Lake; Wixom; Commerce; Walled Lake; Waterford; West Bloomfield; Linden; Fenton; Flint; Grand Blanc; Holly; South Lyon; New Hudson; Howell; Clare; Gladwin; Houghton Lake; Higgins Lake; and many more Michigan communities. And soon to be opening another office in Dadeville, Alabama.
For more information, please visit https://www.natlawreview.com/article/modifications-parenting-time-during-covid-19-pandemic