Can You Restrict Parenting Time Due to COVID?

Christopher Sutton
By: Christopher Sutton
PublishedMar 30, 2021
2 minute read

The pandemic has created a lot of questions for divorced parents. A question our Family Law Team has received quite a bit is: can you deny parenting time if your ex has COVID?

Family law attorney Chris Sutton breaks down how the courts may handle custody issues and COVID infections.

Questions About Parenting Time & COVID?

Call us at 303-688-0944 to set up some time to speak with one of our family law attorneys. You can also click here to schedule online.

An attorney will be able to discuss this particular parenting time issue or any other family law matter you may be experiencing at this time.

During the current COVID pandemic, clients have asked our attorneys how the illness could affect their parenting time.

  • Will COVID impact my visitation schedule if my spouse comes down with COVID?
  • What if a member of my ex-spouse’s current household comes down with a positive COVID diagnosis?

The Answer: You’ll Probably be Able to Restrict Parenting Time

The reality is that a positive COVID diagnosis may allow you or your former spouse to withhold parenting time. The restriction, however, will only be temporary, particularly if the infected individual is not hospitalized for an extended period of time.

Your Child’s Well-Being is the Court’s Primary Concern

Emergency motions to restrict parenting time do happen. The important thing to understand is that the court will want to know, are the children in imminent danger of either physical or emotional harm?

Imminent Danger?

OK, so let’s say your ex has told you that they or a member of their household has COVID. They very well could have a positive diagnosis in the house and still say they want to see their children. So what do you do in this case?

Your ex has a legal right to see the child or children based on the agreed-upon parenting time schedule. But under these circumstances, there is an imminent risk to your children. 

Use Common Sense; That’s What the Court Expects

The situation changes dramatically, however, if your ex-spouse or ex-partner says they are willing to wait until they or the infected household member or members are feeling better.

No Reason to Restrict

If they are willing to follow the CDC’s guidelines, then there is no imminent risk to your children. Therefore, asking the court to restrict parenting time would not be necessary.

Reason to Restrict

If your ex insists on carrying out shared visitation as usual while they or someone else in their home is sick, you may have a basis to file an emergency motion to restrict parenting time.

If your former spouse is willing to wait for their household to be free of COVID, shared custody can resume.

The Court Errs on the Side of Caution

Family Courts in Colorado always rule in favor of the parent who has the children’s best interest at heart.

If one parent is willing to put the child in harm’s way, he or she will lose their shared parenting privileges, at least until the threat is over.

Meet with an Attorney

At your initial assessment, you and a family law attorney will flush out those types of issues: is there an imminent threat, is the ex-partner being unreasonable, what are the next steps?

If you are experiencing these kinds of COVID-related parenting time problems, or any other family law issue for that matter, set up some time to meet with an attorney. You can do that online or call 303-688-0944.

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