The Gucciardo Law Firm is closely monitoring the ever-evolving situation as it relates to Coronavirus. As Michigan, along with the rest of the world, confronts COVID-19, we want to assure you our team is, and will continue to be, ready and available to advocate for you and provide you and your family with legal guidance. Our office is happy to accommodate virtual meetings in lieu of visits to the office to ensure that all your issues have been discussed and questions answered.
For those with children and parenting time orders in place, please be advised that the Michigan Supreme Court issued an Order this week mandating that parents abide by their current parenting time orders until such a time that the trial court can again make rulings on any modification requests. It is expected that the local courts will be closed until at least April 13, 2020, and this may be longer as the current situation with the virus is very fluid. The local courts will only hear matters on an emergency basis at this time. Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions about your custody, parenting time, and other family matters or if events have occurred that may rise to level of having an emergency pleading filed.
Governor Whitmer Order and Supreme Court Statement
Governor Whitmer issued Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19) which requires all non-essential workers as defined in the order, to Stay Home Stay Safe for the next three weeks at least, starting at midnight on March 23, 2020.
The order provides a list of exceptions to the rules including addressing compliance with custody orders. Section 7(b)(4) states:
“Individuals may also travel:
- To return to a home or place of residence from outside this state.
- To leave this state for a home or residence elsewhere.
- To travel between two residences in this state.
- As required by law enforcement or a court order, including the transportation of children pursuant to a custody agreement.”
Further, last week on March 16, the Michigan State Supreme Court issued a Statement on Matters Concerning Children which provides in pertinent part:
“The Supreme Court wants to remind parents that all court orders for a child’s custody, parenting time and support are still in force. Only a new court order can change that. Parents should continue to follow their court orders.”
When reading the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Executive Order together with the Michigan Supreme Court’s Statement on Matters Concerning Children, all parties should comply with all existing custody, parenting time, and support orders unless and until they are changed. The Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe Order does NOT prohibit parents from transporting their children to the other parties’ residences to comply with custody and parenting time orders and agreements.
We are advising our clients to comply with all custody, parenting time, and support orders and to carry a copy of the relevant custody or parenting time order or agreement with them at all times while transporting children to show to any law enforcement officer who may inquire as to why that party is not at home.
As always, if you have any questions, please call us to discuss your particular situation. While our offices may be temporarily closed, we are virtually open for business to serve your needs and answer your questions.