Will there be make-up parenting time for missed time during the shelter-in-place order?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of everyone in Oregon. As of April 14, 53 people have tragically died from COVID-19 in Oregon, and there are another 1,500 active cases across the state. As a result of the pandemic, life as essentially been put on hold. And because of the chaos and dangers involved with being out in public, many parents with visitation rights have not been able to see their children. Under newly issued recommendations from the Oregon Statewide Family Law Advisory Committee, family court judges are being encouraged to grant make up parenting time “whenever appropriate.”

The Committee, which consists of judges, trial court administrators, mediators and evaluators, attorneys, family court service providers and representatives from state agencies, met last month to discuss the various issues confronting parents who are dealing with child custody and visitation issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee issued a series of recommendations that, while not legally binding, will provide guidance to judges overseeing Oregon child visitation cases.

The Committee addressed the question of make-up parenting time directly, explaining: “If parenting time is missed due to COVID-19-related issues or government orders, parents are encouraged to work collaboratively to schedule makeup parenting time that promotes their children’s safety and wellbeing. Local courts are strongly encouraged to order makeup parenting time, when appropriate.”

Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, courts are likely to be understanding when it comes to the reasons why a parent may not have been able to visit their children. However, the Committee repeatedly notes that the best way to deal with these unanticipated issues is to follow the parenting plan as close as possible and to work things out privately, when possible. Of course, not all parents have a productive relationship with their former partner, and courts will frequently need to get involved when it comes to ordering make-up parenting time.

Contact an Experienced Oregon Divorce Law Firm

If you are meeting resistance when trying to see your children under a valid Oregon Child visitation order, reach out to one of the dedicated Oregon child custody attorneys at Gearing Rackner & McGrath, LLP. As committed divorce lawyers, we have extensive experience handling all types of Portland child visitation issues, including those that arise as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about how our award-winning attorneys can help you through this difficult time, call us at 503-468-6741 or contact us through our online form to learn more about how we can help. While our physical offices remain closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working remotely and continue to accept new clients.