Family Law COVID-19 Information

Family Court Guidelines for Parenting Time of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

These are challenging and stressful times for everyone. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court knows you may be seeking additional direction as to parenting time. We have, therefore, put together a list of guidelines that may help you navigate these waters. The goal of these guidelines is to encourage you to follow your existing parenting plan as closely as possible. Doing so will ensure a level of consistency and stability, which is in your children’s best interests.

The guidelines are adopted to assist the parents and the court, however the facts of any given case shall dictate the result. In all cases, the court must determine the best interest of the child in resolving contested issues.

We want to assure you, that, if needed, the Court remains available to hear essential matters, including entering new orders in emergency situations. However, the Court strongly encourages all parents to first attempt to work together to resolve any issues, even if coordinating parenting time or making adjustments to exchange locations becomes more challenging in the days and weeks to come.

If you both agree to modify your parenting plan, you are encouraged to put your agreement in writing and sign it, if possible. If both parents cannot decide on a revised parenting time plan, and one of you believes an adjustment is necessary, you may consider filing a request for temporary modification with the Court under Rule 48, ARFLP.

Finally, in cases where a parent or child must self-quarantine or access is restricted, parents should permit liberal telephone or videoconference visits.

Parenting Time

Parenting Time Orders

Parents must comply with any existing parenting time orders unless they agree otherwise, or until the orders are modified.

A parent who refuses without good cause to comply with a parenting time order is subject to legal penalties, which may include being held in contempt of court, fines, and sanctions.

  • A parent currently exercising parenting time/physical custody who is not entitled to it under the court-ordered parenting schedule must immediately return the children to the permitted parent.
  • The Court reminds parents that “[a]n order for sole legal decision-making does not allow the parent designated as sole legal decision-maker to alter unilaterally a court-ordered parenting time plan.” A.R.S. § 25-403.01(C)
    • The same applies to a parent who has final decision-making authority under a legal decision-making order.

Self-help is not an acceptable course of action. If both parents cannot agree on a modified parenting time plan and one of you believes an adjustment is necessary, you may consider filing a request for temporary modification with the Court under Rule 48, ARFLP.

If there are no orders in place and unless otherwise ordered, legal parents are entitled to co-equal, but not exclusive, physical custody of children, and A.R.S. §13-1302(A)(2) forbids “either parent from hiding a child from the other.”

Third-party visitation orders, including grandparent visitation, shall remain in effect unless modified by the court consistent with these guidelines. All parties are encouraged to confer before seeking court intervention, to achieve the best interest of the child.

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This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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