Covid-19 is not a reason to deny parenting time to the other parent. Arizona Courts have made it clear that parenting time should continue even during the pandemic, as close to the normal schedule as possible. Family law judges are expecting parents to comply with their existing orders unless both parents agree otherwise. It is possible Arizona will experience additional lockdowns (now that cases are on the rise) and, in that event, expect the family court to put out more guidance on parenting time.
However, if you feel that the parenting time arrangement is putting your children in danger, you can file a petition with the court asking to modify parenting time. You should communicate with the other parent as much as possible and be transparent about any potential exposure to Covid-19. If your parenting time exchange occurs in a populated area, you should consider approaching the other parent about changing to a less crowded location. If either parent or someone in the household is diagnosed with Covid-19, work with the other parent to temporarily adjust parenting time. If long-distance parenting time is an issue due to travel restrictions, work with the other parent to arrange for a temporary modification and think about offering the other parent some make-up time in the future (when the virus threat has lessened).
Most importantly, do not put your child in the middle of any disputes between parents and do not ask your child to deliver messages to the other parent. Always communicate directly with the other parent and try to do so in a way that your child is not overhearing arguments or disagreements.
If you are ultimately unable to agree on needed modifications, you can seek assistance from the court.
More information regarding parenting time during the pandemic is provided by The Arizona Supreme Court.
If you need assistance regarding this or other legal matters, please call Anthem Law at (623) 526-5597 or find us online at AnthemLaw.com.
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