By Anna M. Parise: On Sunday, March 22, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, issued an Order directing all Ohio residents to stay home. The Order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 20210, and has subsequently been extended through 11:59 p.m. on May 1, 2020. The Order does not specifically set forth an exception to the stay home order for compliance with a parenting schedule set forth in a custody order. The lack of specificity has caused confusion for many parents as to whether they should continue to comply with the parenting schedule set forth in their custody agreement, or keep their children home in compliance with the stay home order in violation of their custody agreement.
Clarity on compliance with parenting schedules for parties subject to a custody agreement and/or order was made on April 1, 2020 by Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court Administrative Judge Leslie A. Celebrezze. Pursuant to the April 1, 2020 Journal Entry, “[p]arents who are subject to parenting time orders shall continue to follow them absent good cause shown; these orders remain in full force and effect. Parties shall adhere to all holiday and spring break schedules as designated by their schools at the beginning of the school year regardless of the recent changes.” A full copy of Judge Celebrezze’s April 1, 2020 Journal Entry may be found on the following link. http://domestic.cuyahogacounty.us/pdf_domestic/en-US/COVID-19/COVID-19%20and%20Parenting%20Time%20Orders.pdf
To date, surrounding counties have not issued similar Journal Entries regarding compliance with parenting schedule orders set forth in a custody agreement. That does not necessarily mean compliance with the parenting schedule should not be made during the effective timeframe of the stay home Order. If you have any questions about Judge Celebrezze’s Journal Entry, or the impact of the stay home order with your particular custody order, please contact Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A. at 440-352-3391 or visit our website at www.dworkenlaw.com.