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Digest of the Week - Custody Enforcement, Quarantine, and COVID-19

McNeil v. Christie | 2020 NSSC 145 | Nova Scotia Supreme Court

Family law --- Custody and access — Enforcement

Parties with young son had been in court on numerous occasions to deal with parenting issues — Father's supervised parenting time had been changed to unsupervised in recent months — Father's unsupervised parenting time was to be reviewed but review hearing was removed when courts adopted essential services model — Mother filed request that court deal with parenting situation on "urgent" basis and after reviewing correspondence, it was determined that request met threshold — Mother brought motion for return of child to her care — Evidence didn't satisfy that mother having her boyfriend return to home to provide childcare, without period of self-quarantine, was reasonable — Father manufactured reason to keep child with him, taking advantage of current health directives — Given state of emergency, fact that someone living in mother's home didn't properly quarantine after returning from out-of-province, and that police and child welfare checks had raised no alarms with child in father's care to date, it was directed that child stay with father until April 19, 2020 which would allow mother's boyfriend full 14 days since his return from Western Canada — If he showed no signs of illness, child would be returned to her care and if he did develop symptoms of COVID-19 before child was returned to her care, child would remain with father pending review by court — Once child was returned to mother, father's in-person parenting time with child would be suspended until further review by court.
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