Does my partner get parenting time if my child and I are self-isolating or under quarantine?

As of March 1, 2021, the term  has changed to . And in most situations, the term  has changed to . Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn’t a parent or step-parent may get a to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

You must follow a or agreement about parenting time or access. But a court is likely to agree that you don’t have to do this if you and your child are self-isolating or under quarantine.

Self-isolating means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You must self-isolate if you:

  • return to Canada from another country
  • have been in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 and has to quarantine themselves for 14 days
  • have COVID-19 symptoms

It’s a good idea to contact your partner and try to get them to agree on their own to stop parenting time until things change. You can offer other options, such as FaceTime, Skype, or WhatsApp calls, as well as giving them extra parenting time when your self-isolation or quarantine ends.

The National Self-Represented Litigants Project (NSRLP) has developed sample clauses and a sample parenting agreement dealing with social distancing that may be helpful when talking to your partner.

If you and your partner agree on parenting time while you’re self-isolating or quarantined, you usually don’t have to do anything else. You may want to put your agreement in writing, but you don’t have to.

If you and your partner can’t agree on parenting time while you’re self-isolating or quarantined, then you may have to go to court and get a court order to change parenting time for the short term. Before going to court, you must first think about using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or a family dispute resolution process if it’s suitable for your situation. ADR might not be right for you if you’ve experienced abuse and cannot be protected in ADR.

Court proceedings

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, family courts were open only for urgent matters. Since then, the courts have gradually reopened. While some cases are being heard in-person, most are being dealt with by a telephone or video hearing.

For information about cases at the Ontario Court of Justice, read the question I have a family court date in the Ontario Court of Justice. What should I do?

For information about cases at the Superior Court of Justice, read the question I have a family court date in the Superior Court of Justice. What should I do?

If your matter is urgent, you may be able to get an emergency court date. The process for getting an emergency hearing is different in each court. It’s best to contact your local court for more information.

If the court hears your case, it will listen to what you and your partner say and look at the evidence. It will then decide based on which solution is in the .

Legal help

Legal Aid Ontario

You can get summary legal advice and services over the phone from Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) at 1-800-668-8258 or, in Toronto, at 416-979-1446. Because of COVID-19, anyone can use this service to get legal advice and information at this time. It doesn’t matter what your income is.

Emergency family law referral telephone line

You can call the Law Society of Ontario’s temporary emergency family law referral telephone line if you have a family law issue and you:

  • don’t have a lawyer
  • don’t know if your issue is urgent or not
  • don’t know your next steps if your matter is urgent

If this is your situation, the referral service will help you get 30 minutes of free legal advice and information from a family law lawyer. Call 416-947-3310 or 1-800-268-7568.

Mediation

Each family court location in Ontario offers subsidized mediation services. You can get up to 8 hours of for a fee that is based on each person’s income and number of dependents. Fees start as low as $5 per hour. And if you have a court case, you can get up to 2 hours of mediation for free.

Mediation services are currently being provided online. Contact service providers for an appointment or more information.

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