Being a parent is especially challenging in the current environment of COVID-19.
The upheaval can have a dramatic impact on many areas of our daily lives. This includes parenting and visitation schedules you may have in place if you share custody of your child. Below are tips for navigating this difficult time.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Parents who communicate effectively can make adjustments and avoid fights easier than people who do not. Even if you and the other parent can’t stand each other, now is the time to set your differences aside and make a plan. Discuss schedule changes in addition to how you will talk to your children about the pandemic.
Make appropriate adjustments
In the coming weeks or months children may be at home most days; parents may be working from home; many public areas will close or change hours due to community mitigation measures.
Consider these special circumstances when you talk about custody exchanges and visitation. You may need to change where and when you pick up and drop off your child, as well as how you plan to spend your time with your child and any travel plans you may have had.
However, both parents must agree to any adjustments to an existing order. Talk to your attorneys and put the temporary agreement in writing to avoid disputes or allegations of custody violations.
Do the best you can
Even if you and the other parent cannot communicate without conflict, focus on doing what you can to keep yourself and your child safe and healthy.
Teach your child proper hygiene and hand-washing habits. Keep your child away from anyone who may be sick, and request that the other parent do the same. Comply with your custody order.
If you feel the order is no longer fair or feasible, or if you worry that your ex is putting your child in danger, contact your attorney right away to discuss modifying custody or seeking emergency legal interventions.
This is a tricky time, and there are no established protocols. However, these tips can provide guidance on how to address and resolve custody issues in the current environment.