The coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on life in the United States. Parents who share custody of their children after a divorce should consider the way in which their actions could affect their children and their former spouse or partner. In some cases, making temporary changes to the custody schedule could provide added protection for the younger members of your family and the two households involved in your custody arrangements. Here are some of the most practical and positive tips for staying connected in your co-parenting duties during the COVID-19 emergency.
Put Your Children First
If you are worried that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 during the course of your daily activities, taking steps to prevent the potential transmission of coronavirus to your co-parent and your children is essential. Although it is believed children are less likely to contract serious or fatal cases of the disease, some younger people have been hospitalized or have died from COVID-19 over the past few weeks. Practicing social distancing and limiting activities in public to the bare minimum is the most responsible way to deal with the current pandemic and manage your parenting duties.
Establish Common Priorities
For both you and your co-parent, establishing a set of priorities for your children and your activities will help you manage the stresses and challenges of this trying time. Depending on where you live and the restrictions on activities in your area, you may need to establish schedules for homeschooling, completing schoolwork and managing screen time for your children. Setting aside some time each day for safe and distanced outside play will also help you and your co-parent keep your children happy and healthy for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Create Alternative Strategies for Communicating
If you normally communicate with your co-parent through face-to-face conversations, now may be the best time to shift to telephonic contacts and teleconferencing applications like Skype or Facetime. This can also keep grandparents and extended family members close without presenting the risk of spreading the coronavirus to these vulnerable individuals. By implementing these co-parenting communication methods, you can practice social distancing while keeping in touch with your loved ones.
Income levels can fluctuate significantly for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Gig workers and those in non-essential industries may be laid off or may experience a significant reduction in the work they can perform and the pay they receive. Being flexible and making allowances for changes in income and the ability to pay child support can help you to continue co-parenting successfully and can set the stage for future cooperation after the current emergency situation is over.
Most family court services are limited during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus. As a result, it is essential for you and your co-parent to find ways to resolve issues without recourse to these legal avenues. This will help you demonstrate your willingness to adjust to changing conditions and work with your co-parent to create the best environment for your children.