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Parenting time and the Coronavirus

May 8 | 2020  by

Following the issuance of the Governor’s Stay Safe, Stay Home Order, many parents are struggling with how to safely exercise parenting time. Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020—21 (COVID-19) was issued on March 23, 2020 and ordered all non-essential workers to stay home to help stem the spread of COVID-19. Under the Order, parenting time was explicitly considered in section 7(b)(4), where individuals were permitted to travel if they were transporting a child pursuant to a custody agreement.

Unless you believe that exercising parenting time would endanger the health of a child or community at large, all parties should be following the court-ordered parenting time schedule. If a parent believes that exercising parenting time puts the child or community at risk, they should reach out to the other parent to arrange for alternatives to parenting time. One such alternative is scheduling regular video conferencing calls between the parent and child. The parents can also come to an agreement to grant the noncustodial parent make-up parenting time once the stay-at-home order has been lifted.

The Michigan Supreme Court issued guidance on March 16, 2020, reminding all parents that court orders for child custody, parenting time, and support are still in force and that only a new court order could modify that. Most importantly, the Supreme Court emphasized that all parents should continue to follow their court order. If the exercise of parenting time would endanger the child or the community, the Supreme Court recommends that the parents should work together to keep the child’s access to both parents as close to the parenting time arrangement as possible.

If you have questions about parenting time or custody schedules during the Governor’s Stay at Home Order, the family law practice at Fausone Bohn, LLP is here to help. The firm has decades of experience helping clients with an array of family law issues, including divorce, child support, and enforcement. Please feel free to call or email us anytime as we are here to assist.