On April 9, 2020, the Honourable Judge P. Bond of the British Columbia Provincial Court issued a judgment in a case involving parenting time during Covid-19. The father sought to reinstate his parenting time and increase it beyond the parties’ informal agreement for parenting time during the pandemic.
The mother was opposed to the request for increased parenting time and took the position that the father should exercise his parenting time at his home, rather than his girlfriend’s home.
Judge Bond highlighted the poor communication between the parties, particularly the father’s failure to inform the mother about his circumstances and intentions to protect residents of his household against contracting Covid-19.
Throughout the course of the hearing, the father informed the mother and court of the precautions he was taking to deal with the risk of Covid-19. As such, the Judge allowed the father to exercise his parenting time at his girlfriend’s home. He did not grant the father increased parenting time.
Judge Bond ended the judgment with a firm statement to the parents:
Finally, I will say that it is incredibly important that separated parents communicate effectively in co-parenting their children. That communication should not focus on the rights of the parents to see their children, but rather on the rights of their children to have parents that can share important information about the children’s safety and welfare respectfully and effectively.
This case is an example of one party placing his perceived right to his children over the mother’s right and responsibility to ensure the children are protected during an unprecedented crisis. I recognize that the parties’ different views of the residence issue may have ultimately landed them before the court, in any event. However, it is appalling that the matter was brought to the court before full disclosure had been made … and as to what precautions had been taken to ensure the children would be safe. I hope that this exercise will bring home to both parties the meaning of co-parenting in the children’s best interests.
Read the full decision here
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