A: The short answer is: Probably not.
The courts expect you to follow any existing court order or parenting agreement. It is fundamentally essential that in these times of crisis we provide our children and the other parent with as much certainty and stability as possible. That said however, the courts may allow for a parent to retain a child where the other parent is being unsafe during the COVID-19 Crisis – The mandate to protect children and do what is in their best interest remains the #1 priority of the court system.
The courts are expecting parents to practice social-distancing, wash hands frequently, disinfect their homes, and comply with public safety directives.
Based on the most current case law out of Ontario, social-distancing alone is not a reason not to exchange a child during the COVID-19 Crisis. There are ways of maintaining appropriate distance while still exchanging the child(ren) as agreed/ordered. Some of our clients are exchanging their children in parking lots where the child can get out of one car and get into the other without the two households physically interacting.
The court are viewing urgent applications as those relating to completing withholding the child.
It each person’s facts are unique. And general advice does not necessarily address facts specific you and your family. Set up an appoint today if children are being withheld from you or if you need an opinion as to whether to deny the other parent’s parenting time. We can provide advice as the best course of action for you and your children.
*Any guidance provided is not covered by solicitor client privilege, nor is it taking into consideration all of the facts of your matter beyond those in the question. The legal information is specific to British Columbia Law. If you want a more thorough and case-specific analysis of your legal matter please CONTACT US to arrange a consultation.