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Do I still need to allow my kids to go for access with their other parent during the new “Stay-at-Home” order period of lockdown?
This is a question many separated parents are asking right now, and the short answer is “Yes”.
The provincial “Stay-at-Home” order (Ontario Regulation 11/21, issued January 13, 2021), states:
Requirement to remain in residence
(1) Every individual shall remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving their place of residence is necessary for one or more of the following purposes:
13. Taking a child to the child’s parent or guardian or to the parent or guardian’s residence.
Multiple residences and moving
20. Travelling between the homes of parents, guardians, or caregivers, if the individual is under their care.
In other words, the provincial government recognizes children going between their parents’ homes as one of the exceptions to the Stay-at-Home restrictions.
During the first lockdown period in March/April 2020, we saw many decisions coming from family court judges, directing parents to work together cooperatively, maturely, and with their children’s wellbeing in mind. This means having frank and open discussions about how COVID-19 safety precautions are being followed in both households. The structure and stability of continuing to follow a regular parenting schedule may help maintain some normalcy for children, who are going through as much uncertainty as their grownup counterparts right now!
There may be exceptional circumstances, such as a child or household member with significant medical vulnerabilities. You should consult with an experienced family lawyer if you have questions about your family’s particular situation.
Stay safe everyone.