Uncharted Territory: Co-Parenting and COVID-19

As a pandemic charges across the United States, confusion and fear fuel conversation about co-parenting and how best to keep families safe.

At this writing, Maryland has 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.  Those numbers will rise.  With a succession of closures in recent weeks, children and parents are at home wondering what to do and whether it is safe to shop—or see mom or dad on their parenting time.

Co-parenting plans provide structure and authority to the amount of time children see each parent throughout the year.  Court-approved plans are not stayed, or temporarily set aside, during this public health crisis.  Parents must work together to make decisions in the common best interests of their children. Here are some tips:

  • Get on the same page: Everyone is suffering anxiety and stress right now.  As some members of our families and communities fall ill, it is important for us to support each other by following advisories about social distancing and staying healthy.  By observing guidelines, we have a better chance of reducing the possibility of illness in our own homes and throughout our area.

If you have not already done so, speak with your co-parent about the crises.  Despite differences and the difficulty of divorce, the hard work is coming to agreement on caring for your children during this unprecedented time.

  • Planning: Sticking with your co-parenting plan is important.  If you can, develop rules and agreements across households to stabilize the situation for your children and reduce the chances of illness.  It is a good idea to develop a contingency plan if one parent becomes ill or is quarantined.  Discuss the transfer of children and create a safe family circle within, which your children can live and travel.

If your child has special needs or is immune-compromised, reach out to physicians and other caregivers as part of your care plan in the event of illness.

  • Use technology: If circumstances require that children cannot see their parent, make use of Zoom, Facetime, Skype and other apps to encourage your child to stay in touch with their parent.
  • Work together: In some areas of the country, children are already out of their physical school for the rest of the school year.  While summer approaches, the usual resources, like summer camps, workshops, swim and other lessons could be very limited or non-existent.  To maintain sanity and safety, it is critical to work with your co-parent to help children understand the importance of doing their part to stay healthy and help others stay healthy too—even if they are completely bored.

These times require unprecedented cooperation to help all of us get through this emergency.  If you reach an impasse with your co-parent about how to approach this crisis, get good legal advice.

Speak with an experienced Baltimore divorce attorney

When you need knowledgeable answers and experienced legal guidance about child custody or divorce in Maryland, we can help. The Law Offices of Allyson B. Goldscher, LLC serves individuals and families in Baltimore and Baltimore County.  Contact us when you have questions or call 410-602-9522 today.

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