As a family law practitioner in Clark County, Washington, I have been asked this question many times in the past couple of weeks: Do I have to follow my parenting plan (or other court order) with the coronavirus threat?
And since Governor Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order on March 23, 2020, this question has become even more relevant.
The short answer to the question, in Clark County at least, is yes. The Clark County Superior Court has issued the following advisory language:
If you are a parent who has supervised visitation with your children, the Court has advised parties to “work collaboratively to ensure parenting time continues to occur in a manner that promotes their children’s safety and wellbeing.”
PARENTING PLANS MUST BE FOLLOWED
Court-ordered parenting time must be followed and permitted where possible. If the government is permitting individuals to leave their homes to obtain necessary provisions, go for walks, etc., then the court deems CHILD EXCHANGES AS ESSENTIAL.
Despite the above guidance – and many parents working together – there are bound to be instances where a parent loses time with his/her children because of COVID-19 related issues. In these cases, that parent may motion the court for make-up time once the regular court schedule resumes. Of course, parents are encouraged to work together to come to an agreement on make-up time before bringing the issue to the Court.
The full text of the Clark County Superior Court’s information related to coronavirus (COVID-19) can be found here: https://www.clark.wa.gov/superior-court/covid-19-family-law-information
We at Joshua J. Bean, PLLC understand that you may have many additional questions related to your divorce or custody case and how it is impacted by COVID-19. We are, therefore, offering free 30-minute telephone consultations to help you with these issues. Please call at 360-695-3695 to set one up.