As the Corona Virus pandemic continues to impact our nation, families all over the country are having to re-think their day-to-day routine as countless students are being forced to begin the school year with online learning. Not only does this impact the mental and physical health of children, it is also impacting timeshare arrangements amongst parents. Parents have had to scramble to find childcare so their children can be homeschooled while they are at work. Further, parents who are divorced or sharing custody of their minor children have had to come together to make big decisions regarding the safety of their kids. For example, parents have had to decide whether children will attend class in-person or virtually (for those that have the option), whether it is safe enough to enroll children in team sports, and whether or not children should be traveling on an airplane. The sudden changes in the world as we know it have made decision-making under a joint custody arrangement very challenging.
When parties share joint custody of their children, the parties are essentially sharing decision making power. Parents must make decisions regarding their children’s education, religion, agreed upon extracurricular activities, healthcare, and many other life events impacting their children. COVID-19 has brought many more decisions to the table that parents must make together. Whether to enroll children in virtual or in-person classes is something that must be agreed upon by both parties. Some parents have differing views on how to handle the Corona Virus pandemic which has caused turmoil in co-parenting relationships. In turn, it is important to have a plan in place. Read the tips below to help you navigate making decisions regarding your children as co-parents in the midst of COVID:
1. If your child is enrolled in virtual school during your parenting time while you are at work, be sure to disclose the name and contact information of their caretaker to the other parent in case of an emergency. Further, communicate with the other parent regarding the status of the child’s assignments so things do not get overlooked when parenting time changes.
2. If one parent is opposed to their child participating in team sports or other activities due to safety concerns, research individualized sports your children might be interested in participating in or propose team sports that have policies in place to ensure children are properly socially distanced.
3. It might be healthy to enroll your children in some type of therapy if their change in routine has impacted them emotionally. Children not being able to see their friends and participate in their normal activities is difficult. Be sure to check in and see how you can support your children during this unprecedented time.
4. Consider altering your parenting schedule to accommodate your children’s new schedule if they are attending school virtually. If one parent has the ability to work from home and monitor the children’s online learning assignments, consider altering the parenting schedule to alleviate the need for childcare each weekday.
5. Always remember that issues involving your child’s education and upbringing must be agreed upon when exercising joint custody. Try to be patient with the other parent, and find a middle ground that addresses both parent’s concerns.
If you’re struggling with the timeshare arrangement you’re currently following with your children, reach out to our office. We are equipped to handle the complexities of parenting time in the midst of COVID-19, and would love to discuss your options with you.
By: Anne Brockman