Co-Parenting is difficult enough on its own. As Dorie Rogers, an experienced divorce attorney in Orange County points out, there’s a long list of do’s and don’ts to follow if you want to pull it off right and provide the best environment possible for your child.
Now, with the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine, questions abound about how to successfully navigate parental responsibilities and custody agreements with an ex-partner while also limiting contact and following quarantine orders.
It’s a tricky balance, but there are some tips that will help you navigate the situation. The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), in conjunction with American Academy Of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), have released their Seven Guidelines for Parents Who Are Divorce/Separated and Sharing Custody of Children During the COVID19 Pandemic. Here’s what you should take to heart.
You should take care to keep yourself healthy, and set a positive example for your children to do the same. Wash your hands, wipe down surfaces, social distance, and stay up-to-date with the CDC’s guidelines and what’s going on with the outside world.
The pandemic is serious business, and you should treat it as such. On the flipside, though, you’ll want to be mindful of your children, and stay strong to help them cope. Stay calm, field whatever questions they might have, and reassure them that, although things are abnormal now, normality will return at some point down the line.
This tip is in reference to any court orders custody agreements. Even with quarantine in effect and schools closed, you’ll want to maintain adherence to what the courts have mandated as closely as possible.
When it comes to following those court orders, though, you’ll have to get creative in some instances. Life has changed, and you’ll have to roll with those changes in a reasonable way to maintain safety. Plans may get disrupted, but you can help maintain closeness by utilizing online chat programs like Skype and FaceTime.
Communication is key to maintaining good relationships, and that’s doubly so during this pandemic. Be honest if you think you or your child has been exposed to the virus, and work with your parenting partner to take steps to mitigate harm.
Even in the best of times, kindness goes a long way. It’ll go even further in the unique circumstances of quarantine, as making accommodations for your co-parent and being flexible whenever possible will help take stress off of you both.
As an extension to the point above, you’ve got to be understanding of the trials that quarantine has placed on everyone. The economic impacts, for instance, have made it difficult for some to earn money, so both recipients and payers of child support should recognize this, realizing it is a temporary circumstance and working together to best provide for their children.