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Quarantine & Transferring Custody

Erika Carter

As more states, counties, and cities issue Stay-at-Home orders, many people are beginning to brace for full quarantine orders. If you are under true quarantine order, how will you transfer custody of your child?

The current Stay-at-Home order effective in the city and county of Denver allows for “essential travel,” which is defined to include “travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents…” It also includes “travel required by law enforcement or court order.” That language strongly suggests that travel to facilitate parenting exchanges is still allowed under a Stay-at-Home order.

However, if you are under a true quarantine order, your travel may be more restricted, and your parenting time exchanges may be impacted. Unfortunately, the answers to how your parenting time may be impacted by a true quarantine order are not clear. One Colorado judge has stated that if there is a quarantine order stating people shall not leave their homes under any circumstance, this order would supersede the court ordered parenting time exchanges. However, there is no official guidance from the Colorado judiciary regarding how a quarantine order would impact parenting time exchanges and parenting plans.

Because there is so much uncertainty, it is important to be pro-active. Now more than ever, you need to focus on solutions in the best interest of your children; communication is key. You should communicate with your co-parent and develop a plan for parenting time if a quarantine order is issued. If there is a temporary substantial modification to your parenting plan due to a quarantine order, develop a plan for make up parenting time after the quarantine order is lifted.

Be creative and flexible. If your child cannot have in-person parenting time, explore using Skype, Zoom, or FaceTime to allow your child to see the other parent each day. This is an opportunity for you and your co-parent to come together and focus on what is best for your child.

If you are not able to create a plan with your co-parent, unfortunately, your remedies may be limited as access to family law courts is limited right now. At this time, Colorado family courts are encouraging people to be reasonable and work together as family courts are only hearing certain types of urgent family matters. If your co-parent is being uncooperative, contact your attorney to help you navigate the conversation with your co-parent and discuss how to move forward in the best interest of your child.

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