J.R. v. S.R., NYLJ January 04, 2021, Date filed: 2020-11-18, Court: Family Court, Nassau, Judge: Judge Linda Mejias:

“….The issues regarding the Petitioner’s missed parenting time arose during earlier part of the course of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and specifically at or around the time that transmission was at its peak and information was still being gathered at the highest levels. During that time, and even so now, there was much confusion and uncertainty. Parents in non-intact families were forced to weigh the safety and health of their household members against releasing children so as not to impinge upon the rights of both parents and children to have time with each other. The correspondence submitted by both parties demonstrates the parties’ uncertainty as to the best course of action with respect to the Petitioner effectuating his parenting time with their son. Strict adherence to the parenting time schedule was difficult at that time, if not impossible. The Court is not convinced that the Respondent maliciously withheld their son, but rather the parties both chose to modify the Petitioner’s access based upon the restrictions and reality of the pandemic. Therefore, the Court does not find that she violated Stipulation of Settlement of the Judgment.

Accordingly, branch “1″ of the Petitioner’s motion is hereby DENIED.

Branch “2″ of the Petitioner’s motion seeking and order granting the Petitioner the right to exercise his parenting time with the parties’ children in accordance with the parties’ Stipulation of Settlement, and Judgment of Divorce is hereby GRANTED, and the parties shall endeavor to abide by both the Stipulation of Settlement and Judgment of Divorce as strictly as possible given the rise in infection rates of COVID-19 at this time, and they shall communicate with each other with as much as advance notice as possible if modifications need to be made to ensure the health and safety of the Children, their respective household members, as well as the community at-large.

Branch “3″ of the Petitioner’s motion seeking an order granting the Petitioner reasonable make up parenting time is hereby GRANTED, and the parties are directed to determine the dates and times for such “make-up” parenting through counsel.