Co-parenting is hard. Co-parenting during a pandemic is harder. Here are some helpful tips to help co-parent your children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the biggest issues facing divorced parents during this pandemic is whether they can trust that their ex is keeping their children safe. Is your ex following social distancing guidelines? Does your ex have a job that may potentially expose him/her to the coronavirus? Does your ex have symptoms of the coronavirus?
While these questions may understandably cause you anxiety, your must remember that the courts still expect you to follow your custody order even during this pandemic. There may be serious consequences if you violate your custody order by refusing to exchange custody at the ordered time.
However, there may be circumstances in which it is in your child’s best interest to not have physical custody time with the other parent. If you believe it is unsafe for your child to be with your ex due to coronavirus, consult with a Louisiana attorney regarding your options. Louisiana courts are still accepting and hearing emergency filings. The courts consider custody issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic to be emergency in nature.
The bottom line is this – if you feel that it is against your child’s best interest to go to your ex’s due to the coronavirus, DO NOT violate your custody order and consult with a Louisiana attorney about filing an emergency motion.
Now is the time to be flexible with your ex. Open communication is key during this time of anxiety and uncertainty. It is important for co-parents to be on the same page regarding social distancing measures, homeschool schedules, and discussions with your children regarding the coronavirus. Remember that this is an uncertain time for your children and tensions between parents will make things worse.
There will be instances when one parent does face more exposures than another. One parent may be able to work from home while another may work at an essential business. One parent may be a frontline worker. Co-parents should come together and come up with a plan for dealing with these issues that is in the best interest of the child.
If one parent cannot exercise regular custody due to having to go to work at an essential business or having exposures to Covid-19, the other parent should facilitate additional contact with the child. For example, increased telephone call and facetime sessions will allow the child to spend quality time with their parent when they cannot physically be together.
There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it cannot be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.
The Covid-19 pandemic will have many impacts on families in Louisiana. Even the smallest children will have lasting memories of these unusual circumstances. Your job as co-parents is to ensure that their memories are as peaceful and positive as possible.