Parenting during COVID-19: Kentucky issues exceptions to exchange

Photo of "COVID-19" spelled in scrabble tiles with illustrated viruses floating above

By Timothy Theissen, Matt Worth, Courtney Suhre, and Jessica Beauchamp

On March 27, 2020, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued a general Order about exchanging children between separated and divorced parents during the next 4 weeks of the coronavirus restrictions. It basically tells parents, with specific exceptions, to continue to exchange their children pursuant to their prior existing agreements, court orders and divorce decrees.

The new Supreme Court Order creates three exceptions, saying previous orders and agreements are considered temporarily modified to suspend parenting time for 14 days for any person who:

(1) tests positive for COVID-19 or shares a household with someone who tests positive for COVID-19;

(2) has been advised that he or she, or someone with whom he or she shares a household, has possibly been exposed to COVID-19; or

(3) has, within the last 14 days, traveled to any area with a CDC Level 2 or 3 Travel Health Notice.

This Order sheds light on the status of existing court orders for parenting time, and how they can be affected by the virus outbreak and the directives to stay home and not travel. It is certainly a big help with advising parents. Exception 2 provides some room for interpretation by using the words “advised” and “possibly”, which may be vague or thus require some advice and interpretation. The Domestic Relations Team at Strauss Troy can help parents interpret the Order and apply it to their own unique situations. Clients can call Tim Theissen, Matt Worth, Jessica Beauchamp or Courtney Suhre for advice at 513-621-2120 in Ohio and 513-621-8900 in Kentucky.