Article written by Ruhaina Dhirani
Are you and your ex cooperating with co-parenting arrangements during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
Co-parenting is rarely easy and is considered to be one of the biggest stressors of divorce. Then came the coronavirus. Throw a pandemic into the mix of a fraught divorce, and the logistical anxieties of divorced parents become catastrophic: especially whilst trying to navigate co-parenting and custody arrangements.
Many divorced parents are feeling anxious, confused, over whelmed, stressed or even worried about the co-parenting arrangements of their children during these troubling and disoriented times of COVID-19, as no guidelines have been provided of the specific “Dos and Don’ts”.
As the state of emergency continues, parents will need to work together to show flexibility and temporarily implement some creative and realistic co-parenting proposals for their children, which demonstrate both best interests of the children and COVID-19 awareness.
Below are 3 suggestions that can help parents make co-parenting work during this unprecedented time and simultaneously remain calm, stay consistent and avoid conflict with their ex.
1. BE COMPLIANT
If there is a Separation Agreement, Parenting Plan agreement, a Court Order or any other agreements in place, parents must still comply with those terms by assuming the school calendar is still in place, despite the unusual circumstances, unless there is a good reason otherwise.
2. BE CREATIVE AND FLEXIBLE
Many parents use school, sporting events or other extra curricular activities as a custodial exchange location. But with the school and non essential closures taking place currently, parents will have to start being creative and planning for other neutral exchange locations suitable for both parties, whilst still adhering to strict social distancing.
In order for parents to still maintain the connection with their children and normalize the situation to the best of their ability, they shall be flexible and co-operative. Virtual parenting schedules could be implemented via Skype, Facetime etc, in the event either parent has to self-isolate and forego their parenting time with their children. Most of all, parents shall be reasonable and try and provide makeup time to the other parent, when necessary.
3. BE HEALTHY:
Try and limit your children’s exposure to the virus by implementing simple and fun hand washing (i.e sing the Happy Birthday song or any other song) and wiping down of toys and/or gadgets as a fun game or routine. Inform the other parent of the routines being implemented. Try and be consistent with these routines in both households.
Be transparent with each other. Inform the other parent if the children is exhibiting any symptoms of the virus whilst in their care. Put together a response plan of actions to be taken in such an event to protect the children.
Follow the government health guidelines about COVID-19.
Since this situation is not going to resolve overnight, start speaking to your co-parent sooner than later about positive ways to implement the co-parenting arrangements during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Best solutions are always created when both parties make a conscious effort to work collaboratively.