Effective Co-Parenting during the COVID-19 Crisis
Co-parenting can be difficult at the best of times. Trying to maintain a united front when you’re splitting kids between two households is not only impacted by different ideas about parenting, but potentially undermined by some of the issues that caused you to divorce in the first place. Still, loving parents do their best to try to create a sense of stability for kids, and let them know that they’re loved.
Then, you find yourself stuck in a nightmare scenario, where schools are shut down and adults are unemployed/furloughed, working from home, or worse, remaining in the workforce as essential workers. This can create significant problems where your co-parenting plan is concerned.
Since you must legally maintain your Michigan parenting time order (or try to get courts to temporarily change it – not likely without some kind of emergency), you’ll simply have to carry on and try to figure out how to continue co-parenting during this time. Here are a few strategies for effective co-parenting during the COVID-19 crisis.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your children are able to cope with the stresses related to coronavirus. Even if everyone is in good health, kids have had their normal routines upended. They probably miss their friends and teachers, not to mention socializing/play time with peers, trips to the park, and so on.
In addition, parents working at home might not have much time to keep kids entertained, and children could start to feel lost in the shuffle. If parents don’t take the time to reassure kids and give them the time and attention they need, it’s only natural that they’ll start to feel anxious, fearful, and depressed. This can be compounded if they are old enough to fully understand the impact of the coronavirus, or if they happen to know someone who has passed away from COVID-19.
You and your ex-spouse need to make a concerted effort to discuss the situation with kids, engage in quality family time, and let them know that they’re safe and that everything is going to be okay. Make sure to get on the same page with messaging to provide a calm and stable environment for your children, and do your best to split homework duties, perhaps with each parent playing to their academic strengths.
Do Your Best to Keep Kids Safe
What if you’re in a situation where you and your ex don’t agree about what to say and how to act during this state of emergency? If the other parent won’t take it seriously, you just need to do your best to help children understand the gravity of the situation and provide guidelines about safe social distancing and wearing masks in public.
Be Flexible and Understanding
This is certainly a difficult time to be co-parenting, but compassion goes a long way toward easing the burden on the entire family. If adjustments need to be made to co-parenting time or child support payments due to changes in job status or a work-from-home situation, try to be flexible. Just make sure to get any adjustments in writing, and file a motion with the court regarding any modifications to child support so you can make arrangements for back payment down the line (starting at the date of modification).
If you need help determining the proper course of action related to temporarily modifying parenting time orders or child support payments during the COVID-19 crisis, contact the experienced professionals at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 or online for legal guidance and support.
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