It’s hard to co-parent under regular circumstances, but given the shutdowns of schools and Courts and the recommendation that we all stay home and shelter in place as much as possible, co-parents are facing issues they have never faced before. Now, more than ever, is the time to work together to get through this time and let the best interests of the children both physically and emotionally lead the way.
Quarantine and homeschool are stressful for parents, but we must remember Children are anxious too. The last thing they need is parents fighting. We, the parents and attorneys, are being called to be our best selves here and work together to get through this time. Here are some guidelines to navigating your custody and visitation plan during this pandemic.
- Be compliant with your custody order as much as possible but be flexible and reasonable with accommodations due to the virus. If one parent can work at home and homeschool the kids, but the other still has to work, use common sense and do what’s best for the children.
- Consider practical concerns. Are there vulnerable individuals in your household? Does one parent work in healthcare and be more likely to be exposed? Put ego aside and make decisions based on the overall good of your family and the community.
- If changes to the visitation must be made, reassure the other parent that they will be able to make up the time with the kids once this is over.
- Remember, Court is closed and hearings are severely delayed and limited at this time. Do your best to work together to find solutions that work for your family. If you cannot reach an agreement, consider and online mediator to help you agree to temporary custody and visitations and modifications.
- Be a united front. Agree to a set of rules for the quarantine that will be enforced in both houses. It does no good if one parent enforces social distancing and the other allows parties and playdates.
- Be creative in alternatives to in-person visits. We know that kids weather the transition of divorce best when they have regular time with both parents. If physical visits cannot happen, try playing a game online, face-timing in for dinner or just regular phone calls.
These are strange days for all of us. Many of us are very stressed, including our children. How we as parents handle this situation has a lot to do with how our kids will come out of this. We are being called to do hard things. This is the time to work together as co-parents and attorneys to do our best to prevent this situation from becoming a childhood trauma.