Covid-19 is a pandemic the likes of which have never known. It’s affecting nearly every aspect of American lives. The world has been put on pause. We can no longer eat at our favorite restaurants. We can no longer get our hair cut. We can no longer watch our favorite sport on television.
In the midst of the pandemic, many families, and split families, are facing domestic relations issues. “My stimulus money has gone to my ex’s bank account,” or “I can’t afford to pay child support because I’ve been laid-off.” However, none of these issues are as important as spending valuable time with your child.
“Stay at Home” Orders, have created a “custody barrier” to parents. Many are finding themselves going weeks, or months, without parenting time with his or her child. As a vaccine is possibly years away, some parents are afraid that lack of visitation will not end in the foreseeable future. As the first, and hopefully last, wave of Covid-19 trends downward, parents should consider the following when it comes to coparenting:
- BE REASONABLE
Comply with court orders to the best of your ability. Parenting plans remain in force during these tough times. Some family court judges have provided guidance on following custody arrangements in regards to the looming pandemic. The pandemic should not be used as justification for withholding parenting time from your coparent. On the other hand, if you believe that you have been exposed to the virus, take proper precautions and follow CDC guidelines. Your child’s safety always comes first.
- BE INNOVATIVE
It’s always in your child’s best interests to communicate and get along with your coparent, and it’s important to be understanding during these difficult times. You can temporarily adjust your parenting time to better suit both yourself and your coparent. If you or your coparent have reduced work hours or have been laid off, you can collectively alter your custody arrangement to fit your needs. You can agree to meet for exchanges at a non-public place. You can limit your child’s contact with others who face frequent exposure to the virus. If you or your coparent plan to make any changes, always keep your child’s best interests in mind.
- BE HEALTHY
Just because the state is in the process of opening back up does not mean that we should forget what the pandemic taught us. Wash your hands. Cover your mouth. Avoid touching your face. Don’t put yourself or your child in danger of unnecessary exposure. Stay up to date with current events and future developments that may assist you, your child, and your coparent in staying healthy.
As our state begins to open back up, so do family courts. Court intervention should not be your first option; however, if it gets to that point, we are able to help you through these difficult times.