Parent-time and Governor Herbert’s COVID directive
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread across Utah, Governor Herbert has announced new directives to limit its spread by prohibiting large gatherings. Many parents have asked whether this means they should not follow existing parent-time orders?
The answer is nothing in the Governor’s directive alters existing custody and parent-time orders. Both parents are still considered “immediate” family members to their child and you should continue to follow your existing parent-time schedule. While you may have to make adjustments in what you can do during your parent-time, parent-time exchanges should still take place like normal. Whichever parent is entitled to receive the Thanksgiving break holiday in 2020 is still entitled to it. Parents who use the pandemic as an excuse to restrict their co-parent’s access to their children may find themselves in trouble with the court.
However if you or someone in your household actually come down with COVID (or believe you may have been exposed to COVID) then you should discuss it with your co-parent and try to work out a temporary solution. Often the most reasonable thing to do if a child has been exposed or becomes sick is to temporarily postpone parent-time until the quarantine period is over and then ensure any time that was missed is promptly made up to the other parent. If your co-parent will not cooperate then you can file an emergency motion asking the Court for permission to temporarily modify your order. What you should not do however is act as your own judge and jury in these situations. Either you and your co-parent need to agree on any changes or you must seek permission from the court. Otherwise you should continue to follow your existing order as written.
If you have questions please contact Wiser Law at 855-254-2600.