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Possible COVID-related issues that can arise this holiday season

The holidays can be stressful after divorce or separation, particularly as we continue to battle COVID-related issues and challenges.

If you are recently divorced or separated, there are some unique COVID-specific challenges you might anticipate in the coming weeks.

Court complications

COVID has changed the way Ontario courts operate. If you are navigating this system, there can be in-person and remote proceedings to electronically schedule and attend (but primarily remote).

Finalizing details of a split before the holidays or the new year can be a priority, making people more eager and motivated to resolve issues quickly. COVID can derail these plans if a party gets ill or if the courts must modify operations.

Seeking urgent action

During any holiday season, Ontario courts often see a substantial increase in urgent motions concerning parenting time. This increased activity, combined with the added strain COVID puts on courts, can make it even more frustrating for parents to resolve critical matters.

As we discussed in a previous post, urgent motions are not always warranted or successful, and they can be quite bitter. Thus, talking to a lawyer first can be wise.

Schedule disruptions

COVID-related issues can derail even the best-laid plans. For instance, if you plan to travel during the holidays (with or without children) or attend family gatherings, falling ill or travel restrictions can change things.

Under these circumstances, parties may need to notify an ex of their changes or be flexible with their parenting time. Parents may also need to adapt their plans in the event of quarantine or illness, particularly when it comes to holiday breaks and child care.

And as we mentioned earlier, COVID restrictions or illness can trigger delays in court hearings and require parties to reschedule meetings.

Financial stressors

Throughout this pandemic, many Canadians have been battling financial challenges or job loss. These troubling situations can make the holidays even more stressful for people who depend on spousal or child support.

Anyone dealing with unpaid support can take steps to enforce court orders to collect the money owed.

Looking ahead

While we know that the holidays will be over in a few weeks, the future is not so clear when it comes to COVID. However, no matter what challenges parties face after divorce or separation, there are resources and strategies to help navigate the journey. Here is one and here is a good resource to find court directions in the Covid era.  

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