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COVID-19 Child Custody FAQ

Are people exempt from self-isolation if they are carrying out child custody agreements?

As long as they don’t have symptoms, people are exempt from the self-isolation requirement when they are dropping off or picking up a child under a custody agreement. Entering and exiting the province within about 24 hours to drop off/pick up a child is what we mean by “facilitating child sharing” under a custody agreement.

If you are dropping off or picking up a child in this manner, you do not need to complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form. You do not need to ask for an exception. You should bring a copy of the custody agreement to show our border officials.

However, if someone is coming to visit a child, they must the complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in and they must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Please read our information about how to self-isolate. If you wish to seek an exception to the self-isolation requirement for the purpose of visiting your child, you can contact

If a child visits a parent outside Atlantic Canada, do they have to self-isolate when they return?

Yes, self-isolation is required whether it is the parent or the child who travels for a visit. When there are legal custody arrangements that require parents or children to travel for visits, that type of travel is recognized as necessary.

In these cases, if the traveler can follow a strict protocol that allows for some careful sharing of spaces, then the entire household does not need to self-isolate. They must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in. For the 14-day isolation period the person who traveled for necessary reasons must: • stay at their place of residence • have their own separate room in the home (such as a separate bedroom, basement or attic) • sanitize hands before leaving the separate room and wear a non-medical mask when outside their separate room • avoid being in the same space as other household members • have their own bathroom or use the following cleaning protocol for a shared bathroom: clean high touch surfaces (such as doorknobs, taps, toilet handle, sink, etc.) after each use • have food and beverages prepared by others and made available in a non-contact manner • not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding or other items with others in the home • keep your personal items (such as toothbrush, cups, cell phones, tablets or laptops) separate from those belonging to others • not share food, drinks or cigarettes or any other items that are put in the mouth

If this protocol cannot be followed, the traveler must either find another location to self-isolate or the entire household must self-isolate.

If a child is waiting for results of a COVID-19 test, does the child need to self-isolate in once place (ie disrupting the custody schedule) or can they continue to go back and forth?

When people are waiting for results from their COVID-19 tests, they must self-isolate in one place. However, we recognize that could disrupt the schedule in a legal custody agreement when a child is waiting for test results.

Keeping the child in one location means less risk of potentially spreading COVID-19 and it is advisable if possible. However, the schedule in the custody agreement can continue if necessary and members of both households should be extra cautious to monitor themselves for symptoms and follow the public health measures.

*Information provided by the Emergency Management Office of Nova Scotia.

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