COVID, custody orders and the vacations

ATHABASCA – Legal Aid Alberta (LAA) encourages parents to get creative about keeping the vacation spirit alive while continuing to follow custody instructions.

While the directions have yet to be followed, there is the added confusion about what is allowed under the current Alberta Health Services (AHS) restrictions, said Jeff Keller, attorney for the LAA.

“A court order is a court order and COVID is not going to stop that court order,” he said. “The judges say no, this ruling needs to be obeyed as much as possible, but AHS has requirements and restrictions that do this.” Come on too. ”

Keller added that parents should maintain a bladder for the child or children even when the children are away from the house and should avoid third parties moving the children between the parents. .

“These orders remain in place. So if an education order and an education plan are already in place, they should remain in place, except in an urgent situation,” said Keller. “Every house is a bubble for that child, and the parents must keep that bubble up even if the child is not with them during that time. So the child should be safe in every home because the mother keeps her home safe, the father his home is safe and the child can walk back and forth carefully. ”

LAA has found that many parents have been able to set aside differences during the pandemic to work together, but it’s not uncommon for a parent to use the pandemic as an excuse for not following custody decisions.

“The judges don’t have much patience for this,” said Jessica Chapman, LAA attorney, in a media release. “There have been a few cases where judges have taken a really hard line and said, ‘You’re trying to keep the child away from the other parent and so we’re going to flip the custody agreement.”

Some orders also have a third party who brings the children back and forth between the parents, but here too LAA advises both parents to put differences aside for the benefit of the children.

“Some people use third parties to go back and forth and things like that. That shouldn’t happen technically, ”said Keller. “There mom and dad have to work together now because at this point there is no longer any hope of going to court.”

Keller suggests meeting in a public area like the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and safely allowing the kids to switch to the other vehicle and focus on creating the special circumstances of a pandemic leave over the kids.

“Work together as much as you can and come up with plans and alternatives that, while out of order, are fine if you agree,” he said. “The focus has to be on your child’s safety and making sure you don’t spread COVID. And then the other part of it is making sure your child still has a nice holiday and a good Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever, and keeping them away from (family conflicts) as much as possible. ”

For more information, see the LAA website at

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