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Separated Parents and Keeping Children Safe from COVID-19

March 30, 2020

It was bound to happen; an emergency motion seeking to have a child remain with one parent amidst fears the other will not be protective enough of the child.

The issue was answered admirably by Justice Pazaratz of Hamilton in a judgement provided March 24, 2020. He indicated that court orders should be followed as best as possible that and in essence, there must be substantive evidence, not just worry, that a child may be truly at risk of contracting the illness should exchange continue.

His response rests on the view that in these times, children need the reassurance and support of both parents to manage effectively and emotionally.

What is at times lost by parents in dispute, is that despite their view of the other parent, the child will hold their own view, even if in secret. It rests upon most, if not all children wanting to be loved and cared for by both parents. Just being in each parents’ company, even if not terribly attentive can be enough for a child to still feel wanted and cared for.

While it can be scary for a parent to see the care of a child with the other parent who may not hold as stringently to standards for self-care, do remember, you are forming memories for your child. Those memories may include greater feelings of hopelessness and a lower sense of self-esteem as well as resentment towards the withholding parent.

Balance that in your equation when considering your child’s time with the other parent. Balance that and the fact that as per Justice Pazaratz, there must be factual evidence to withhold your child and to present an emergency motion to the courts.

Scared? Talk to a counselor.

Feeling a need to withhold your child from the other parent? Talk to a lawyer.

You can read his judgement here.



If you find yourself in a similar situation, I am here. You may need support. I can offer what I have learned.

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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW for counseling and support – to build your successful practice


Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice

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