Co-parents find themselves in an unprecedented legal situation now as the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) rampages across the nation. Children need a relationship with both parents and continuing this relationship during this time is important. Co-parenting at a distance will have it’s challenges. However, COVID-19, a deadly virus, is literally in the air so it is obvious that both parties must do what needs to be done to keep their family safe. Each party must give priority to act in a way that is best for the child and the greater good and not what’s necessarily best for them. Each parent should take a big step back from any normal knee-jerk reaction during this time of confusion and illness. Given we are all navigating uncharted waters, what are the best ways to approach co-parenting during this global pandemic?
Tips for Co-Parenting During COVID-19
First, establish new rules during lockdown. You and your ex-spouse/partner should be unified in what is or is not ok. For example, what is the protocol for going outside or who are the kids allowed to see? Another suggestion is to create united homeschool guidelines – keeping in mind that one parent’s home might be better suited for homeschool (i.e. more space to spread out or better WiFi capabilities).
It is important during these uncertain times to provide your children with stability. Be consistent with respect to the message your present to children regarding the subject of Covid-19, perhaps focusing on a child’s bravery and use specific terms that are less scary for kids when describing the pandemic.
Prioritize and promptly reply to your ex-spouse’s communication. During this time, everyone is scared. You owe it to your ex-spouse to respond to texts, phone calls and emails quickly and clearly and without spite. Keep any communication positive and consistent. In fact, go above and beyond – have your children Facetime the other parent and send photos regularly.
As a last resort, consider revising your custody agreement temporarily. Be creative so that the children are still getting as much meaningful access as possible with both parents. You should be prepared to offer make up time when we get to the other side of this terrible time. Remember that open-mindedness counts for a lot right now.
Lastly, do not argue or discuss any custody/access issues within earshot of your children. There is no need for them to absorb any additional tension during a time that is already riddled with anxiety. Have compassion for your children, your ex-spouse and yourself.
Experienced Child Custody Attorney in New York
COVID-19 is unchartered waters, but that doesn’t mean anything goes with your parenting agreement. Co-Parenting at a Distance may be difficult, but the best interest of the child(ren) should be at the forefront of your minds when making decisions. There may be cases when you can’t both agree on what’s best for the child(ren). If you need assistance in navigating through co-parenting during COVID-19, you’ll want the help of an experienced child custody attorney. The Mandel Law Firm can provide expert aid during these unprecedented times and stands ready to provide the best legal representation. Give our office a call at 646-770-3868 or send a confidential message through our website.