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Should I Temporarily Alter My Visitation Agreement in the COVID-19 World?


Many aspects of all of our lives have rapidly shifted during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. And while we have all faced challenges without access to many of the services and places we are used to and are staying home more than ever before, divorced or separated parents who coparent have the extra task of contemplating visitation considerations in this new climate. Approximately twenty percent of Canadian children live primarily with one parent which means that the issue of visitation during the pandemic is very relevant for a large number of people. After all, the factors concerning visitation affect a minimum of three people in every situation – each of the parents and the child they share. And with more than 27,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 that have led to almost 2,300 deaths just in the province of Ontario, it is important that parents contemplate visitation considerations because, unfortunately, there is no indication that anything will change any time soon.

Understanding How the Current Government Directives Affect Custody Arrangements

Importantly, all coparents should understand that the current closures and directives to stay home as much as possible do not directly alter custody orders or automatically give one parent the right to keep the child you share away from the other parent. Therefore, you should generally plan to continue following your current custody arrangement unless you and the other parent agree to an alternative plan or a judge changes your custody order. And without getting the courts involved, there are factors you might consider in regard to temporarily altering your agreement.

Things to Consider in Regard to Temporarily Altering Your Agreement

The Health of Your Child.

While the majority of children seem to not be as susceptible to the implications of this virus, the unfortunate reality is that many others have underlying medical conditions such as asthma and Diabetes type 1 that can make the prospect of the respiratory complications associated with COVID-19 a very scary concept. Give serious thought to whether your child continuously changing environments and the germs that go with doing so is best for him or her.

Reasonable Alternatives.

With more technology than ever before available at our fingertips, we can all stay connected even when we aren’t together. Consider postponing in-person visits for a period of time and instead using phone calls and face-to-face mediums like Skype and Zoom to stay connected. You can even negotiate with your ex to arrange to keep your child for a longer period when things are safer instead of doing visits now.

Consider Turning to a Legal Team You Can Depend On.

Because of the unpredictable and novel nature of this devastating virus, unfortunately, no one can tell you with certainty how the actions taken now in regard to COVID-19 will be viewed by the courts in the future. However, this is one of the reasons why it is so important to rely on a team of experienced family law lawyers who can adapt with you and the law in response to this unprecedented scenario and guide you toward decisions that preserve the relationship between you and the child you love. As the Mississauga child custody lawyers at Zagazeta Garcia LLP, we offer our clients compassionate representation as well as experience with overcoming new and complex legal challenges. Contact us today to begin confidentially discussing your situation.




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