COVID-19 and Child Custody Matters Series, Part 4

Because of school closures, COVID-19 has caused a unique issue for parents — how to handle exchanges, summer breaks, and travel for children.  In this fourth part of our series on COVID-19 and Child Custody Matters, we address some of the common questions that arise in this scenario.  However, if you would like to discuss how COVID-19 has impacted your parenting plan and what legal options you may have under the newly issued guidelines, contact family law attorney Ashley DeBoard, at 928-233-6800 to schedule a consultation.

My parenting plan provides for parenting time during school breaks.  If school is not in session due to COVID-19, do I have to exchange my child(ren) early?

The Arizona Supreme Court’s Guidelines clarify that the designated school breaks, holidays, and vacations mean those regularly calendared in the school district where the child(ren) attend school. Closure of schools for public health reasons will not be considered an extension of the break for parenting time purposes.

How do the “shelter in place” or other travel restrictions affect parenting time?

Currently, the shelter in place orders do not apply to travel for parenting time exchanges.  The Arizona Supreme Court Guidelines clarify that no existing executive orders for shelter in place specifically limit travel for parenting time exchanges.  However, if later there is a government order issued that specifically restricts travel for parenting time and exchanges, parents must comply with that order.

What if my child is supposed to travel by air to visit the other parent?

The Arizona Supreme Court Guidelines suggest that parents review CDC travel guidelines and discuss with the other parent whether ground transportation may be preferable or even possible. Consider alternative options and if parents cannot agree, they are instructed to seek direction from the Court.

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Legal advice should take into account the specific facts of your situation.  You should seek professional legal counsel before acting upon any of the information contained in this article.