Amidst the current pandemic, we have several words of advice and guidelines for parents that are divorced or separated that also share custody of their children. We understand it’s a scary time and as we continue to find that this will be the situation in the coming weeks, it’s important to think and take action on the following:
- Be Healthy!
Be sure to comply to and stay in touch with CDC, local and state government guidelines. This means washing your hands, wiping down surfaces and objects frequently being touched, and maintaining social distancing. Doing this will set a good example for your children, teaching them how they can take action too.
- Be Mindful.
Mindful means to be honest, serious, but calm about conveying the pandemic to your children. We all know everything will turn to normal in time, so avoid making careless comments and exposing them to the media headlines. Instead, encourage them to ask questions and express their concerns and answer them truthfully.
- Be Compliant
Continue being compliant with the arranged court orders and custody agreements. These were put in place for you and your partner to avoid the haggling over timesharing. Even though schools are beginning to close and move to online learning, custody agreements should remain in force as if school were still in session.
- Be Creative!
With closures of flights and vacation attractions beginning to hamper the fun of spring break, take the time to encourage closeness between your children and your partner. As some parents will be dealing with extra hours of work due to the crisis, it’s a good opportunity connect together through books, movies, games, and video calls. Ask your children for suggestions too!
- Be Transparent.
Provide honest, timely information to your co-parent about any suspected or confirmed exposure to the virus. Create an agreement on what steps both of you can take to protect your children from the exposure. This means being proactive in planning for any given scenario. As well, both parents should be informed at once if your child is exhibiting any possible symptoms of the virus
- Be Generous.
Be thoughtful and try to provide makeup time for parents who missed their visitation. Try to make accommodations. Family law judges will take action in later filings about parents who are inflexible in these unusual circumstances.
- Be Understanding!
As we all are expecting, this pandemic will follow with economic hardship and lead to financial burden for many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving it. If you are paying, continue trying to provide what you can, even if it cannot be the full amount. If you are receiving child support, try to be accommodating under the challenging circumstances. Remember, these hardships will be temporary. Take this adversity as an opportunity to come together and focus on what’s best for the children