April 8, 2020

COVID-19 PARENTING PLAN

Note: the following is general information only. Obtain legal advice for your particular circumstances.

The following parenting plan was drafted by me in response to issues that arose in many cases of separated parents dealing with COVID-19. This is not specific to your situation but is simply provided as a draft to give you and others ideas of how to come up with a parenting plan in the pandemic. This draft parenting plan is based on the separated parents having an existing court order or written agreement where each parent is a “guardian” and thus have parenting time; as opposed to a biological parent that is not a “guardian” and has “contact”.

It is my view, that if an issue arises where it is necessary to stop parenting time that the parents focus on the child’s best interests, particularly the health, safety and well-being of the child, with a view to re-instating the parenting schedule. Thus, the need for reasonableness, understanding, and transparency between parents.

So, here is a draft, which again, is for general information only, and hopefully gives you some ideas on how to frame your parenting plan if you need one.

  1. Definitions:
  • Household Member” means any person that resides in the residence of a child and the child’s parent where parenting time is being exercised (for example:  roommate, parent’s spouse or child, etc);
  • parent” means a guardian of the child;
  • Preventative Measures” mean directives and orders, both present and future, of the Provincial Health Officer of British Columbia (“PHOBC”) (including the BC Centre for Disease Control) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (“PHA”), updates on preventative measures provided by the PHOBC, the PHA of Canada, and the current preventative measures including:
    • physical distancing from non-household members if outside the home,
    • staying at home as much as possible,
    • working at home if possible,
    • regular washing of hands,
    • regular cleaning and disinfecting of touched surfaces in the household,
    • avoiding touching of the face, eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, and
    • avoiding contact with non-household members.
  • Each parent will implement and maintain the Preventative Measures.
  • Each parent will ensure that any Household Members will comply with the Preventative Measures.
  • Each parent will ensure that the child practices the Preventative Measures.
  • Neither parent will unnecessarily involve the child in discussions around the other parent’s compliance with the Preventative Measures.
  • If a parent is required to go into work, the working parent will provide information as to what preventative measures the work place has implemented to ensure the safety and health of its employees, the spread of COVID-19 and any other measures taken by the working parent.  Such information shall be provided if requested by the other parent but is not, on its own, a requirement for parenting time.
  • If a Parent, Household Member, or other person that has been in recent contact with the child has been exposed to COVID-19, has symptoms of COVID-19, or tested positive for COVID-19,
    • the parent shall inform the other parent immediately, and
    • the parents shall make all reasonable attempts to come to an agreement that meets the child’s best interests with a focus on ensuring the health, safety and well-being of the child with a view to re-instate the parenting time under the order or written agreement.
  • Neither parent will unreasonably deny the other parent parenting time unless absolutely necessary to ensure the health, safety and well being of the child.
  • If a parent is self isolating due to possible exposure, is exhibiting symptoms, or has tested positive for COVID-19, the parent shall follow the directives, orders and preventative measures set out by the PHOBC and/or the PHA.

Remember, the above is only to help generate ideas and ways of an agreement in the event an issue arises between separated parents. If you need help, contact us.

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