Parents who have had conflicts with one another may really struggle with co-parenting during COVID-19. They will need to increase their level of communication in order to minimize the risk of themselves and their children contracting the virus.
To make things harder, courts are closed for all but emergencies — and what feels like an emergency to you probably won’t qualify as an emergency to a court. There are a few ways you can be sure that you are co-parenting successfully during the coronavirus scare.
Tips on Successful Co-Parenting During COVID-19
1. Over Communicate
This is the time to over-communicate about your children and your plans. Often a parent feels that the other parent’s questions about where they’re going with the children, what they’re doing, with whom they’re spending time with, might normally feel intrusive and controlling.
During this unparalleled time, these questions are appropriate. Having a very tight and coordinated co-parenting plan will make the whole family safer. If overcommunication is difficult, or even impossible, there are 2 options that can help.
There’s An App for That
Several companies offer co-parenting communication apps for parents that have trouble communicating effectively. Some even have the capacity to correct your tone. Our Family Wizard and Two Houses are two such examples of those apps.
Mediation is a fully-facilitated conversation guided by a neutral third-party that will help you reach a solution that works for both parents, but most importantly, the children.
2. Maintain Flexibility
Remember, during this health crisis, everyone is in the same boat. This could mean losing a job, working from home, homeschooling and managing childcare all at the same time. What was reasonable at another time, is not reasonable now. And conversely, what was not reasonable at another time, maybe totally appropriate now.
Now it might make sense to substitute a video call for an in-person visit. Maybe it makes sense to keep the children in one parent’s home and have the other parent visit there. Or maybe it makes sense to move in together for a period of time. Don’t worry about setting a precedent about not visiting or missing time. These are difficult and unusual times.
3. Prepare for the Long-term and Proceed with Caution
Although this time is difficult and tensions are running high, this will pass. This means that the behavior you demonstrate now will either enhance or detract from your future co-parenting relationship or any pending court case – or both.
Your behavior now may well have a huge impact on the outcome of a pending divorce or custody case. If a judge feels you put your children at risk by taking them to public gatherings, that might reflect badly on your parenting skills in the future.