We've all heard the stories and been wondering: how do we manage our parenting plan when our movement is restricted, schools are closed, and maybe the other parent is an essential worker?
The short answer: keep following the parenting plan.
If you have have a court ordered parenting plan, you need to keep following it unless a court issues a new order with a new parenting plan. Marion County Circuit Court and the Oregon Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee both agree that the best ting for your kids is to follow the plan
Are the school closures an extension of spring break?
No, the school closures are not spring break. Talk with an experienced lawyer about what your parenting plan means if you have questions.
What if the other parent works in a hospital or in some other essential service that puts them at increased risk for exposure?
Just as if this pandemic were not happening, if you believe that your child is in immediate danger of harm with the other parent, you must required to file for an immediate danger protective order if you want to keep the child from the other parent. You cannot simply withhold the child from the other parent in violation of a currently ordered parenting plan. To do so will put you at risk for adverse legal consequences later on.
How are we supposed to do the parenting time exchanges if we are supposed to exercise social distancing and to limit movements to essentials?
Caring for your children, including ensuring that they have meaningful relationships with their other parents, is essential. This means that you should continue to meet the other parent for parenting time exchanges. You may need to be flexible, however, if the other parent's work schedule has been impacted by business closures. Remember, the children's best interests are served by having a relationship with both parents.
Just as in any other time, you are required to follow any existing court orders. This includes parenting plans, status quo orders, temporary protective orders, FAPA orders, and any other orders. Nothing about the current situation excuses either parent from following the orders and a parent who chooses to ignore a court order against the other party's wishes may be held in contempt of court later on. Speak with your lawyer about about what is the best thing to do if you are worried about your parenting plan.
If you do not have an attorney, give us a call or send us an email and we can set some time to talk.