COVID-19’s Influence on Family Law Cases
August 17, 2021


COVID-19’s Influence on Family Law Cases

In the recent case of Moussaoui v. Harkouken, separated partners were seeking a temporary order placing their only child in alternate schools. A conflict existed between the parents as to which one of the schools the child would attend and whether online or in-person attendance was in the child’s best interests. 

The mother reasoned that she was concerned about the child’s health given that he has experienced past respiratory issues, creating a higher risk of COVID-19 infection. She also informed the court that the child had difficulty using the bathroom and online schooling would allow the child to be further trained in that area, as well as helping to avoid embarrassing situations at school which could have the potential to “traumatize” the child.

The father supported in-person learning because it would provide more benefits to the child, as the opportunity to interact with other children was a factor. He was also concerned that the extent of online screen time could have a negative impact on the child’s development.

In the end, the court ruled that the child’s health risks eclipsed the benefits of in-person learning during the pandemic.

Selecting the right fit for your child’s learning environment can be a complicated question in a family law dispute, especially within a pandemic.

Additionally, a cautionary lesson came from a recent case by the name of Burrell v. Burrell, in which the parents of two young children fought over custody of their children. The father believed the pandemic to be a hoax and expressed his opinions through social media and attendance at protests. He also refused to wear masks in public spaces. The wife brought a motion for temporary custody of the children and won that case!

The custody order was made on a temporary basis and would be revisited once the health concerns surrounding the pandemic subside.

Watch this space for more updates on cases related to family law. Work with Melekhovets Law, one of the best custody lawyers in Toronto.