Family Lawyers Serving Clients Throughout Arizona
Shared Parenting

Shared Parenting

We have received an influx of questions about what is allowed and not allowed during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 crisis. As we all know things are changing on a nearly hour-by-hour basis. In order to provide some guidance on how to best work with your child(ren)'s other parent we have put together the following recommendations.

Arizona Family Law Attorney's Recommendations:

  • First and foremost, talk to the other parent so you can receive first-hand information about the needs of your child(ren) and/or their possible exposure.
  • Communicate all important information via email so that there is a clear and timestamped record.
  • Be diplomatic and not accusatory.
  • If you are concerned that the other parent is not making appropriate safety precautions you may have to make some hard decisions.
  • If you or someone in your home has compromised immunity you may need to decide to have your child(ren) remain with the other parent through the incubation period.
  • If you have to do this make it very clear that you are requesting that you change the Parenting Time Schedule and that you will be receiving make-up time.
  • Make a proposal of how the PT should shift to protect your health as well as your Court Ordered Parenting Time.
  • Keep in mind that it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get a Court Order on any of these issues until well after the fact.
  • When communicating keep in mind that the Judge will be closely reviewing how you handled the situation, so be kind and be fair. Hindsight is 20/20 so try and be as reasonable as you can in the moment. Judges are unlikely to be pleased by parents that dictate to the other parent how things are going to go, regardless of the current uncertainty.
  • Neither parent has the unilateral right to change any Court Order. Regardless of whether you have Sole Legal Decision-Making or Final Decision-Making Authority you cannot unilaterally suspend the other parent's Parenting Time.
  • Even though the cause of this crisis is COVID-19, Parenting Time and/or sheltering in place are not Medical Decisions and you need to try and reach an agreement with the other parent.
  • You may be sanctioned by the Court if you refuse to allow the other parent any contact with the child(ren) and/or disobey a specific Court Order.
  • Remember that the Judge will likely be reviewing all communication if your case has to proceed to Court. Please use spell check and do not use profanity or engage in name-calling. If the other parent is doing so do not engage with them.
  • If all else fails remember this "family takes care of family" and we are all in this together.

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