Discussions, memes, news reports and social media are inundated with information about Covid-19. What is not being covered what are divorced parents and single parents with custody orders are doing in regard to parenting time amidst the restrictions that we are seeing. Here are some things that you can do to maintain normalcy during this time of health concerns and crisis.
Follow your parenting time orders.
These are the orders that you agreed to or the court ordered prior to the Covid-19 crisis. What is written in the order is what the courts will enforce. Some individuals are questioning the ability of the court to enforce the orders when courts are limiting the hearings that they are handling right now. Oakland County Circuit Court has issued an emergency order that the court handling essential matters, which includes divorce, custody and parenting time matters alleging an immediate threat of harm to the children. In addition, all motion hearings are adjourned through March 31st. However, the court may hear an emergency motions by telephone.
If the other parent is denying you parenting time now, find out the reasons for the denial. Is your child sick and needs to be quarantined until the illness is confirmed by medical personnel or your child recovers? Does your child have a medical issue that makes them immunocompromised and the other parent is concerned about the child being outside?
Holiday parenting time, particularly Spring Break.
This has been a big topic recently in attorney forums and message boards. Clients across the state are wondering what to do about Spring Break and the school closure. First, have a conversation with the other parent. Ask what he or she thinks should happen. Share your thoughts with them. This is good starting point. Are you both in agreement to follow the school calendar posted last fall and follow the designated days for Spring Break on that calendar? If so, follow the parenting time order that you currently have.
Can we reach an agreement now?
Yes, you are always capable of modifying the parenting time agreement for the best interests of your children. If both parents agree that multiple exchanges are not good for the children and have worked out a compromise that maintains contact between both parents and the children during this time with minimal exchanges with a return normal parenting time after the crisis passes with some make-up parenting time, then reducing that agreement in writing as a Stipulated Order to be signed by the Judge and filed with the court is the best way to document the agreement and prevent conflict later.
Solutions available now
The key to managing and following the parenting time orders is to communicate with each other about what is best for the children. If you are having difficulties communicating with the other parent, contact an attorney today to assist you. Attorneys across the state are offering alternatives means of communicating with their offices outside of actually coming into a physical office. Ask what the attorney’s firm has available for you to have an initial consult with the attorney. Here are Melissa Pearce & Associates, we are rolling out several new services and options to help our clients in handling parenting time disputes quickly and with minimal court involvement. We are creating a page that places all our Covid-19 information in one space for our clients.
If you need help resolving any parenting time issue during this crisis call us at (248) 956-6933.