Q: Can I temporarily suspend visits without getting an emergency order during corona virus?
Child has respiratory issues. Other parent and I made agreement at both households only people who live there would be around our children during social distancing and stay at home order due to corona virus. Other parent has broken our text agreement twice now and one time even had a party with several other families at their house with our children there. Out of safety concerns for children and other parent not taking virus seriously will I be penalized for keeping kids until stay at home order is done? Or do I need to get an emergency order first?
A: This is a difficult situation. I attended a seminar with Civil judges and they stated how backed up the court is in regards to family law related issues. Judges are putting criminal cases at the top of the calendar. They are beginning to open the court virtual hearings but getting an emergency order before the court may prove difficult. I would strongly suggest consulting an attorney. They often can help resolve situations without involving the court. I had a client just recently, wherein we negotiated daily video chats with the child instead of the mandated parent time. We did this without involving the court. Hope that helps.
A: You are in a tough situation. The Minnesota Governor's order is clear that persons under the stay at home order are authorized to engage in the "transport of children pursuant to existing parenting time schedules." Since the parenting time exchange is an authorized act, you would not have protection under the stay at home order for failing to return the child. You should consult a family law attorney and provide them with all of the facts of your case so that they can advise you as to the best method to proceed which could be negotiation of a modified schedule or some type of virtual visits and if negotiations are unsuccessful then possibly considering an emergency motion. I had a matter during the stay at home orders where we needed to bring an emergency motion to have the child returned when the other parent was failing to return the child. The judge granted our motion.
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