The COVID-19 pandemic has affected so many aspects of our lives from the way we work, socialize, purchase grocery and retail items, and dine out. Parents, too, have had to scramble, being thrust into the role of an educator homeschooling their children and seeking day care alternatives.
And this crisis has been extra challenging for parents going through a divorce or those who already are divorced. The issue: child custody and how to come up with a compromise solution that satisfies each parent, while also ensuring the children’s best interests. Adjustments to schedules and modifications are in order during these complicated times.
Communicate, follow safety guidelines
In the past year, COVID-19 has brought added stress and difficulty. Now, divorced parents must work together to create adjustments in parenting time. Changes in work schedules, school schedules and day care arrangements force them to do so. In these scenarios, an experienced family law attorney may help through mediation. However, if the parents cannot agree, they must pursue child custody-related modifications in court.
During COVID-19, here are some key points for divorced parents to consider:
- Communicate: This is the time to work together to resolve any concerns about parenting time. Ideally, the two parents would agree on a parenting plan. And remember to follow court orders. If a parent tries to deny the other from spending time with the children, that is the time to go to court.
- Follow safety guidelines: Children should not stay with a parent who has the virus or tested positive for it. And if the other parent fails to follow safety guidelines, you may take legal action. Also, it is detrimental to accuse the other parent of having the illness. A number of essential workers already have found themselves the victims of such harassment by the other parent.
- Use technology to your advantage: Video conferencing during parenting time benefits the children and parents. Such virtual visits allow you to stay connected with your children. Consider tools such as Zoom, FaceTime and Skype.
- Be aware of potential domestic violence: The stress and tension tied to COVID-19 may bring out the worst in a parent. Pursue an emergency order of protection if you suspect your children are the victims of abuse.
Single parents have plenty of challenges already. And the complications stemming from COVID-19 further add to those challenges, especially related to child custody. Understand that your children have been confused due to the goings-on in the past year. Remember to be there for them and try to work with the other parent to make suitable parenting plans and time-sharing arrangements.