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A Summer of Ups and Downs: Tips for Co-Parenting as Stay Home Orders Lift

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With the easing of economic restraints in light of the COVID pandemic, parents can breathe a sigh of relief.  Or can they?  Besides the mask they may need to wear and provide for their child, the unstable road ahead promises more openings—and closings—to respond to this public health crises.  Creativity and compassion are called for as co-parents try to manage the road ahead for the sake of their children, and their parenting time plan.

For any family, navigating the current landscape is hard.  Divorce and court-sanctioned parenting time plans can be challenging even under the best of circumstances.  Play dates, summer camps and classes, vacations—even time with grandparents—may be cancelled or become impossible as the viral load in a community rises.

Even as we all try to navigate uncharted territory, co-parents with potentially tense relationships can have a tougher time with the moment-to-moment public health instability. For some, employment became home-based, while for others, jobs were entirely lost.  Businesses are opening back up, only to close in some areas.  Consider these sensible tips for maintaining your family and co-parenting responsibilities in the coming months:

  • Common ground: Even if your relationship with your ex- is difficult, try to find common ground on which you can discuss the basics necessary to care for your children and reduce friction. If employment has changed, you may need to make temporary agreements about who cares for your child during days or weekends, or other important details. Financial support may lag if a job is lost. Recognize that in some cases, disagreement is a luxury you can no longer afford—physical and financial survival is paramount.
  • Discuss fears: Disagreements about how to keep children safe are a real flashpoint.  You may be committed to social distancing, while your ex- may feel it is unnecessary.  The fear generated by the pandemic itself, combined with the tension of divorce can make a difficult situation much worse.  If you can, try to find some safe options you both can live with—realizing there is no perfect solution for anyone.
  • Adaptation is critical: Instability is currently a constant.  Help your children learn for life how to handle uncertainty by calmly evaluating problems and creating solutions.  Remind your co-parent that how you both address this situation now can help your children choose structure and safety over conflict and chaos going forward.

It will be some time before anything is truly routine again.  If you owe child support you have been unable to pay, or you are owed support, or parenting time that was lost—keep track of the issues to discuss with your attorney.  Your attorney can advise you of remedies that may work for your family to keep the peace during this summer of ups and downs.

Speak with an experienced divorce attorney in Baltimore

Conveniently located in Stevenson, the Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC deliver skilled legal counsel and dedicated personal service to individuals and families throughout Baltimore and Baltimore County.  When you have questions about divorce, property division or child custody, call 410-602-9522, or contact us – we are here to help.