While new cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported in Georgia and across the country, everyone is adapting to a new, albeit hopefully temporary, way of life.
While living during a pandemic is stressful for everyone, it can be extremely nerve-wracking for those who are separated or divorced and share custody of children.
It’s an especially challenging time for divorced or divorcing parents who have had a contentious relationship. However, it’s crucial that they work together and communicate effectively to minimize risks for themselves and their children of contracting the virus.
The pandemic has effectively shut down the state court system’s ability to hold hearings when disputes arise over custody or other orders. What seems like an emergency to parents may not qualify in the eyes of the court.
Three tips for successful co-parenting
There are ways to reduce stress and the need for court intervention when parents decide to cooperate, such as:
- Being flexible: During this health crisis, just about everyone is on edge, and some may have lost jobs, or have to find a way to deal with child care due to schools being closed. Remember, every person is feeling the effects. That means parents should be seeking a reasonable compromise over custody orders, such as substituting a FaceTime call in place of an in-person visit on some occasions.
- Over-communicating: Be forthcoming with the other parent about your children and any plans you make. During this hectic time, parents want to know where their kids are, who they’re with and what they’re doing. Work together and provide answers, so everyone feels their loved ones are safe.
- Setting a positive tone: While this is a stressful time, it will pass eventually. That means how you act now could set the tone for later and being cooperative could enhance your future co-parenting relationship. Whereas hostile behavior could harm future divorce or custody decisions.
You don’t have to go it alone
Divorce can bring out the worst behavior in the best people, especially during the difficult times we find ourselves facing. However, if you reach an impasse with a spouse over child custody, an experienced family law attorney can help you navigate those issues during this incredibly challenging time.