COVID-19: MORE Rulings on Emergency Cases
The SCJ has recently released another decision stemming from the COVID-19 situation, thus furthering the protocol.
In Douglas v. Douglas, there was currently no court orders in place dealing with parenting time. On March 18, 2020 the mother noted concerns with respect to the other party’s exposure to COVID-19 and wished to have the child remain in her care. The father brought a motion seeking reinstatement of the regular arrangements with respect to access. In its decision the court continues to highlight its priority to respond in accordance with the best interests of the child and that the removal of one parent from a child’s life (even temporarily) must be exercised cautiously.
The court ultimately deemed the matter not urgent or an emergency due to the lack of indication that the child’s safety is at risk. This decision appears to follow that of Ribeiro v Wright (which we discuss here) as the court mirrors the denial of urgency when brought by one party claiming the other is acting recklessly without sufficient evidence.
The court also called upon counselors and parties to try and engage in every effort to resolve matters during this period of suspension of normal court operations. The impact of COVID-19 has indubitably lead us into unprecedented territory. One of our associates (Ms. Lori Dubin) has highlighted the parallels of the courts response to that of our medical systems due to the lack of resources available during this unique time. As a result our institutions must be very selective with what is deemed an emergency, and the courts decisions thus far have shown that the best interests of the child will continue to be upheld.