Co-Parenting During COVID-19: How to Make it Work

While many divorced parents have a stable custody arrangement in place for normal life, the Coronavirus has brought a whole new set of factors into play. Most parents never think of developing a crisis plan, but as 2020 has shown, it’s always good to be prepared.

If you and your ex are struggling to figure out your visitation and parenting plan during the pandemic, here are some steps to help your family find a sense of normalcy and stability again.

1.  Set the previous parenting agreement aside.

It’s a good idea to stick to your visitation plan during normal circumstances. But COVID-19 has presented anything but usual factors. If your standard parenting plan isn’t working or puts your family at risk, it’s better to put it in the background for now and develop a crisis plan.

2.  Weigh the pros and cons.

Each parent’s home will present pros and cons for the current situation. One parent may have time to help your children with their schooling more than the other, but may not have a steady internet connection. Perhaps one parent is more at risk for catching Coronavirus from their work situation but has a better home setup to keep your children happy. Take all of these factors into consideration and use them to guide your new plan. Ultimately, ensuring your children’s well-being is at the forefront of the discussion.

3. Be open-minded and willing to adjust.

You can talk about a new plan all you want, but if one of you is unwilling to budge, you won’t get anywhere. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page for these changes. Again, remember that your motive is not to bogart time with your kids or shirk responsibility—it’s to keep your family happy, healthy, and stable during these uncertain times. Be willing to give and take responsibility to develop a plan that works for everyone.

4. Discuss safety measures.

One of the most significant factors to consider is how each parent will handle safety protocols during the pandemic. If one parent doesn’t care about masks and hand washing, but the other is a stickler for safety procedures, it can cause conflict and worry. As much as possible, try to have a calm and rational conversation about which health and safety measures should be enforced between both households, and keep it consistent for your children.

5.  Develop flexible schedules.

If you are working from home and trying to homeschool your kids, a set schedule may sound impossible. But it will work in your favor if you can provide some consistency to your children’s days. Talk with your ex about developing a schedule that allows the necessary time to work, while still helping your children get their studies done. Keep it flexible enough to add fun activities that get your children’s jitters out. These breaks will help all of you enjoy yourselves throughout the day and keep you engaged when it’s time to work.

If the pandemic has thrown your family situation into a frenzy, it’s time to develop a plan that provides your kids with a stable and nurturing environment. If you and your ex can’t come to terms on your own, talk with a divorce mediator or counselor who can guide you in making those hard decisions for your kids.

The team at Duncan Family Law is always here to answer your questions about making temporary custody arrangements. Feel free to reach out to us anytime by calling at (855) 369-9993. We’ll set up a time for you to discuss your family plan with one of our family law attorneys through a remote communication method that works for you.