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Coping with Parenting Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic

March 23, 2020
Family Law Advisory

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On March 23, 2020 Governor Whitmer issued an executive order directing Michigan residents "to remain at home or in their place of residence to the maximum extent feasible." The executive order allows people to travel pursuant to court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement.

As a result, Governor Whitmer's Stay at Home, Stay Safe Order is not a reason, in and of itself, to deny parenting time. Every family is different and has its own set of circumstances. For example, if one of the parents is a first responder, you may have valid concerns about the health and safety of your children and family. If you have concerns about your parenting time exchanges impacting the health and safety of your children, discuss it with your coparent and attorney. Negotiate specific safeguards that may protect your children and your families from exposure. For example, arranging for makeup parenting time once this emergency passes or scheduling parenting time by Skype/FaceTime may also be appropriate. If you and your coparent agree to modify your parenting time during this pandemic, make sure to document any agreements via email or through your attorney.

All parents must understand that the pandemic itself is not a reason to deny parenting time. Court orders must be followed. As a result, if you and your coparent are unable to agree, consider using mediation or arbitration to resolve the issue. Alternative Dispute Resolution is available through Skype, Zoom or telephone.

This is a challenging time for everyone. Despite the animosity and tension you may share with a coparent, it is important to focus on what is best for your children and family at this time.

Please be aware that your Varnum family law attorneys remain available during this time via phone and electronic means. While we are following protocols to ensure a safe environment for our clients, attorneys, and staff, our offices remain open and we are committed to serving your needs.

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