As many adults are trying to adjust to the new normal during the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not exactly a walk in the park for kids either, and if they come from a divorced family, it might be an even worse experience. It’s stressful for everyone living through these times, and parents should work on making sure their children don’t have the added worry of having their parents fighting over custody rights. Children must continue having a relationship with both parents during this time but it’s also important to understand the magnitude of the dangers associated with this life-threatening disease.
Divorced parents are faced with new challenges as they are forced to stay indoors to continue flattening the curve. According to the Washington Post, crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic can make it harder for divorced parents to manage their time with their kids. With all of the schedule disruptions, there’s a good chance that work and living situations may not be the same as they were when the co-parenting plan was established. This is the time where parents need to learn to be flexible and learn how to work together to establish a new plan that will work during quarantine. According to CNN, some divorced parents have had to modify their usual custody schedules and with many family courts closed, they’ve had to make up arrangements themselves.
In some instances, parents might be worried about sending their kids to the other parent’s house in fear of having the child contract the virus, and the other parent might feel as if their time together is being taken away. Any parent that is isolating their child due to health concerns should also try to continue to allow the child to have a relationship with the other parent, even if it’s through video-chat services such as Zoom or FaceTime. If you or your ex-spouse are currently working from home, you can be presented with other challenges, such as coordinating where and when you will work and when you both will reserve time to spend time with the kids. If the child usually splits time between two households, it’s a good idea to keep the child in one residence in case anyone is sick to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. But this is not to say that parents should take advantage of the quarantine to deprive their ex-spouse of their quality time with their children.
It’s okay if you and your ex-spouse have different views on how to approach co-parenting during quarantine as long as you both put the interests of the children first. Children are also experiencing it all and as a parent, it’s important to make this a less scary time for them, which means it’s time to leave disagreements and arguments in the past and learn how to compromise. This is the time of a public health emergency, not the time to try to cause unnecessary arguments with co-parenting orders. Try to do what’s important to keep you and your children safe and healthy.
By Debra Schoenberg