With the holidays approaching, many families are making difficult decisions on how to celebrate in the midst of the pandemic.  For folks who have pre-arranged visitation agreements, particularly in cross-border matters, plans that have been set in place and agreed may get disrupted.

With waves of virus increasing in some jurisdictions and mandatory quarantines in others, sending the children to the United States or United Kingdom or elsewhere to see mom or dad is more than a logistical problem.  It can be a health risk for the family, an unexpected expense, or a time-consuming proposition – or all three.

What should parents do?

Both sides should communicate with each other about the practical realities of in-person visits during this time.  Easier said than done, but if one can keep in mind that your joint objective is the best interests of the children, it should help.  Remember, children will see how parents manage conflict and later model the behaviour they observe.

Early communication is important as well.  Avoid waiting until expectations have been raised and tickets have been purchased to start the discussion.  Where appropriate, involve the children in the conversation, depending on their ages and maturity levels.

Be prepared to compromise with each other by switching other holidays in the future to make up for the lost time, meeting in a safer location for the visit when possible, or being creative with zoom time to ensure everyone is involved.  Children benefit from a large circle of loving relatives to support them.  Creating memories for everyone during the holidays is an important way of renewing bonds within the family.

With the recent news about an effective vaccine, there is hope that our current approach to managing COVID-19 will change in the future and travel will be accessible and safe.

We at JC Legal wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season!

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