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Arizona’s high court issues child visitation guide amid virus outbreak

(Getty Images/Andrew Harnik-Pool)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Supreme Court has provided guidelines for parenting time of children during the coronavirus outbreak.

The goal of the high court’s guidelines is to assist parents in following their current visitation plan as closely as possible, according to a press release issued Monday.

Although the court remains available to hear essential matters, parents are encouraged to first attempt resolving issues among themselves.

The court’s guidelines state that the the coronavirus outbreak is not a valid reason to deny parenting time as long as parents are considered fit to care for their children and are not exhibiting signs of illness.

School closures are also not valid reasons to alter existing parenting schedules, according to the court.

In the event a parent tests positive for the coronavirus, the court encourages the infected parent to forgo visitation for 14 days.

The court also favors a 14 day visitation suspension if a parent lives with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, has traveled internationally in the past two weeks or has been advised to self quarantine by a government official.

If part of a visitation agreement mandates parenting be conducted in public, the court reminds parents to carry out such arrangements in accordance with Gov. Doug Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order currently in effect through the end of the month. When that is not possible, or when activities cannot be arranged that include social distancing measures, parents are instructed to arrange for virtual visitation.

If parents agree to alter their current visitation plan, the court encourages both parents to sign a written description of the new arrangement.

If both parents cannot come to an agreement on a modified parenting plan, one of the parties may file a request for a temporary modification with the court.

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