Divorcees trying to co-parent in the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic are in uncharted territory. Before the pandemic, routines were easier to keep up with – you could drop off your kids with ease, your income was probably steadier, and you had to worry less about your health. When the pandemic hit and everything started closing, a lot of parents lost their jobs while others had to take pay cuts.
The fact that socializing isn’t as easy as it was and family finances might have taken a hit makes sticking to your routines tough. Ideally, you need to look for reliable ways to co-parent while maintaining some stability for your kids. You might need to revisit and update your co-parenting agreement to deal with the many grey areas caused by the pandemic.
As long as you make the right decisions, your kids will barely feel the brunt of this unprecedented time. Here is how to make life stable for your kids during this trying time.
Take the Time to Understand Your Current Situation
Your existing co-parenting plan may not factor in issues that are pertinent to the current situation. For instance, the plan needs to include your kid’s mental and physical health while ensuring they can study from home. You can ask yourself the following questions before making a decision:
- Will one parent better support homeschooling than the other? One parent could have a stronger and faster internet service than the other.
- Does one of the parents have a job that involves social interactions which could pose a health risk to the rest of the family? One of you could also live with someone who has such a job.
- Do you live with a household member who’s in the high-risk group? This could be an elderly family member or someone with pre-existing health complications.
- Will your kids have access to safe outdoor spaces for playing and exercise in either of the two homes? Playing outside helps your kids remain physically and mentally healthy.
The answer to some of these questions will demand you adjust your current agreement. You will need to carefully analyze the situation with your ex-spouse and weigh the pros and cons.
If you don’t already have a professional to help you facilitate this, doing a simple search for family law attorney is a good starting point. A good attorney will ensure you take the right steps when making changes to your co-parenting agreement.
Keep Communication Lines Open
The pandemic has proved that a lot can change between today and tomorrow. For instance, your ex-spouse could have to self-quarantine, which means adjustments need to be made. You have to get accustomed to the dynamic nature of today’s state of affairs and clear communication is the best way to remain focused on what matters.
Ensure your ex-spouse can access you via text, phone call, or email to make handling emergencies easy. You should also keep communicating with your kids. Other than ensuring they are doing fine, use this period to make them feel appreciated and loved. However, do not forget to uphold the boundaries for how you relate with your ex-spouse since blurred boundaries could be a recipe for disaster.
Be Transparent, Flexible, and Reasonable
In these unprecedented times, you should expect anything, which is why you should be flexible enough with your time and resources. For instance, your ex-spouse could be barred from traveling between state lines to see the kids for a couple of days. In such a situation, you should look for ways to cater to this emergency, even though it complicates other plans.
Take time reasoning out with your ex about anything that doesn’t sit right with you. This can include limits on screen time, health concerns, and even your kid’s schedule. In situations of impasse, your kids could benefit a lot if one of you were to compromise. Your kids’ happiness matters more than being right in an argument.
You need to be more resilient than ever during these challenging times. Having a suitable co-parenting plan ensures the happiness of your kids and your peace of mind. It might also be a good idea to involve your kids when updating the plan to keep everyone happy.