COVID-19 and Family Law
Covid-19 has resulted in the suspension of schools, businesses, and courts. Many parents have questions regarding parenting time with their children. In family disputes, a child usually has his/her primary residence with one parent and access with the other parent.
COVID-19 has created uncertainty, and at times, chaos in previously decided/settled family cases. Some parents are using COVID-19 to settle their personal vendetta with their ex-spouse. However, this does not mean all complaints are rogue. There are many parents with genuine grievances.
In the case of Ribeiro v Wright heard on March 24, 2020, the mother of the child brought an emergency motion to suspend all in-person access because of COVID-19. The decision for this matter was made in the absence of responding materials from the father. However, Justice Pazaratz did have the opportunity to review email exchanges between the father and the mother’s lawyer concerning COVID-19.
Justice Pazaratz, held that he was not satisfied that the Applicant mother had established a “failure, inability, or refusal by the father to adhere to appropriate COVID-19 protocols in the future.”
The Honour recognized the disruption everyone is facing due to COVID-19, and provided that we are all going to have to try a bit-harder – for the sake of our children.
Justice Pazaratz left advice for both a parent that is considering initiating an urgent motion and for the responding parent:
Ø Parent initiating an urgent motion relating to parenting matters will be required to provide specific evidence or examples of behaviour or plans by the other parent, which are inconsistent with COVID-19 protocols.
Ø Parent responding to an urgent motion will be required to provide specific and absolute reassurances that COVID-19 safety measures will be meticulously adhered to – including social distancing, use of disinfectants, compliance with public safety directives; etc.
If you are a parent that requires help regarding parenting time and COVID-19, call our hotline at (647) 236-3424.
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