Right now, parents who share custody of their children are facing an unusual issue in their agreed custody schedules: COVID-19. While the rule of thumb by lawyers and courts across the United States has been to follow custody and visitation schedules as much as you can, there are still some issues parents have rightfully faced. For those co-parenting during COVID-19, there are a few things you should know.
Your child’s memory of this event will be greatly shaped by how you handle the situation.
We know just how tense things are. But it’s important to remember that for the best interest of your child or children, you and your ex need to set aside differences and come to an agreement during this uneasy time. Together, you need to come up with a schedule that works for both parents and also makes the living arrangements for the child safe–both physically and emotionally.
Be on the same page when co-parenting
The rules of COVID-19 are changing almost daily. But it’s critical that you and your ex stay on the same page by following social distancing mandates, practicing proper hygiene, and listening to your bodies–if you feel ill, it’s time to isolate.
While it may seem logical that everyone would follow the social distancing orders–many people are not. If you fear your ex is placing your child in danger by not following the mandates and guidelines for COVID-19, you need to communicate that.
But, do not forbid your ex from seeing your children as this can result in legal consequences down the road. Parental alienation has proven to have lasting effects on children and could result in your custody rights being changed because of your panic-stricken actions.
Think clearly and communicate often. It’ll be beneficial to you all in the long run.
Do not employ fear tactics.
With a 24-hour news cycle, it’s easy to be swept up in the stories every day. But it’s important that you don’t push these horror stories and fear tactics on your children, making them feel like it’s not safe to see their other parent.
While you want your older children to understand what is happening, if you have young kids who are just absorbing your emotional response, this can prove detrimental for all parties involved. Remember, you don’t want your ex to have a reason to question your intentions for your kids. Be calm. Snap judgments can impact your future with your child.
Don’t be afraid to call in a mediator.
If you feel like you’ve done your best but there are still too many issues with your co-parenting situation, it may be time to call in a mediator to evaluate your case. As much as it may pain you and your ex, you may need to modify your custody schedule, alter support payments, or temporarily adjust living arrangements.
If you are in need of legal advice as you navigate co-parenting during COVID-19, call us.
We know you want the best for your children. If you fear you cannot do that without legal advice, you need to contact the Tennessee family law attorneys of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC.
We are here to help you and your family during this difficult time. Contact us today.