As the world settles into what is maybe the new “normal” with social distancing, masks, and little to no contact with nonfamily members, how does that look when shuffling children back and forth between different homes? Here are some things to consider when co-parenting through COVID-19 with an ex from a distance.
When parents separate, there are often difficulties with communication. Now more than ever, parents need to communicate, likely more often than they prefer. Most schools are closed, parents are working from home, or the oh-so-reliant grandparent can no longer provide childcare. This requires the parents to communicate about plans, pick up and drop off, and most importantly, are both parents practicing healthy habits during the pandemic. If you, or your ex-partner, continue to have communication problems, several apps have been created to assist with co-parenting. Two such examples are OurFamilyWizard and TalkingParents. Both provide the ability for parents to communicate easily and effectively, and allow utilizes calendars for planning purposes.
The virus has caused significant grief and inconvenience for everyone. Your children are likely confused or struggling emotionally. They are no longer seeing friends at school or playing sports. They are watching their summer fly by from the living room window. This, no doubt, is causing them stress and anxiety. Be patient and have compassion for their ever-changing mood as they try to navigate their new normal. Be patient with your ex-partner as they overcome schedule changes, the loss of employment, or sickness. After all, your local court may only be hearing emergency cases. Absent an emergency, the only option you have is patience.
There are very few custody and visitation court orders in existence that address co-parenting consideration of COVID-19, or even something similar. That does not preclude you from fostering a relationship between your children and ex-partner. Set up Skype or Zoom calls for your children and their other parent or extended family members. Have the children write letters and ask that your ex-partner reciprocate. Start a Marco Polo account so your children can leave video messages for their other parent and extended family members. There are a multitude of ideas for you to assist your children in maintaining contact with your ex-partner if in-person contact is not feasible.
If you feel the current court order is not serving your child’s best interest, you should consult your family law attorney first rather than deviating from its requirements. Our attorneys are ready to meet with you over the phone or online.