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Sick Days and Parenting Plans

Cold and flu season is upon us. Sick days caused by colds, flus and other illnesses can cause people to miss work, school and other engagements. What many people don’t think about is how sick days might affect their parenting plan. Parenting plans are supposed to provide a residential schedule that sets forth where the children will reside every day of the year. Most of the time residential schedules go as far as to outline where the child will reside down to the hour of the day. But, what happens if the child or parent is sick during their scheduled residential time?

Unless ordered otherwise, if the parent is sick during his or her residential time with the child, it is still that parent’s responsibility to care for the child, or arrange other care during their illness. That said, if the parents have a good relationship, and can agree (preferably in writing) that the well parent can care for the child until the sick parent is well, there is usually nothing preventing this.

If the child is sick, the parent scheduled to have residential time with the child is still responsible for the child. Again, if the parents have a good working relationship there is usually no problem with the parents discussing where the child would be most comfortable during their illness (for example avoiding making a child suffering through a fever transition from one house to the other). Parents can arrange for make-up time when the child is well.

Both these issues can be addressed with the parenting plan itself. The parties can agree to exchange information about an ill child, and or to be flexible during an illness. Parents can also agree that if the parent with whom the child is scheduled to reside is ill, that the other parent will get the option to care for the child prior to the ill parent giving the option to a third party.

As with almost every issue discussed on this blog, this blog post is general in nature. It is not legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should talk to a family law attorney. We’d be honored if you chose to contact us!