Parenting and Divorce during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic
Our worry was how the families who depend so heavily on the public school system for food and childcare were going to survive if the school was not an option. It appears our state and local school districts and many volunteers are working to help families with these needs. My next thought was for the families we serve in our work as Family Law Attorneys.
Parenting and Divorce during a crisis are tough
Most parents during want to pull their children close and keep them safe
Given the extreme contagiousness of the COVID-19 virus, we all want to make sure our children are clean and not exposed to any danger, while at the same time, we may also be caring for elderly parents who we are trying to protect. The impulse to keep our children in our sight is very real, yet at this same time, we are asked to co-parent with someone we may not totally trust to behave as we would to protect our children. We are trying to balance all of that with also needing to work to pay the mounting bills of now supporting two households instead of one and the possibility of childcare costs we had not planned for. Parenting and Divorce during normal circumstances can be complicated, but with current limitations that are going to last for a long time to come, it’s even tougher
What is the “right” thing to do in terms of co-parenting during a crisis such as this?
If possible, be kind to your child’s other parent. If kindness is too much to ask, at least try for a polite business-like exchange. Your children lack the stability of their school and possibly daily contact with their friends and support system; they do not need to feel as if their parents are not stable on top of that. Try to be open to the possibility that you each may need help during this time. Many employers are trying to be flexible with work schedules. This is a time to relax some of the normal timesharing periods and really try to figure out what works for both of you and your children. This is not a time to be legalistic nor to demand “make-up” time. Parents and children are re-scheduling travel plans all over the country. That makes this is an excellent time to look ahead at the schedule and see if that is something that can be worked out now or if it should be tabled until we know more about what the next few months will bring. In addition, many children’s extracurricular activities are being canceled. This may leave children feeling “bored” and frustrated. Possibly, each parent could think of things that the child might like to do and offer time up to the other parent to do those things. I have seen some great online lists of safe activities to do with children while they are out of school.
In the end, the right thing to do is what is best for your children.