It is a longstanding principle that the status quo should be maintained until trial absent compelling evidence that an immediate change is required. After all, the court must determine what living arrangements are the least disruptive, most supportive, and most protective for the child, all through the lens of the best interests of that child.
When parties have agreed to and implemented a consensual parenting schedule after separation or there is a court order, it is that post-separation timesharing or order that represents the status quo.
But what if the parties agreed to a new parenting schedule during the COVID-19 pandemic – because of concerns over the child’s safety or one of the parent’s employment conditions – does this create a new status quo to be maintained until trial?
Ontario courts have consistently held that temporary changes to a long-standing parenting arrangement made during the COVID-19 pandemic do not establish a new status quo. This is the case even when the changes last for months, or even years.