Co-parenting is rarely easy in normal times, add COVID-19 and what we have is anything but normal. Deciding how to proceed with social distancing or quarantines related to co-parenting arrangements and COVID-19 can be challenging. These are certainly, uncertain times, and uncertainty can make all of us feel anxious or worried. Your child needs consistency and love, and you each can give that to your child— even now, in a time of uncertainty and caution. So, I want you to take a deep breath and take comfort that even though we are living in unprecedented times and there is still a lot we don’t know, there are a lot of things we do know and can apply now.
CO-PARENTING You both only want what is best for your child, and now is the time to recognize and acknowledge that in each other. This is not your divorce. This is co-parenting.
Research shows that the quality of the relationship between co-parents can have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children, and the incidence of anxiety and depression—a united front between the parents is best. Whether or not you both agree and/ or recognize the severity of a situation, you must decide that exercising caution is less detrimental to your child than not exercising caution. If you both agree on the severity of a situation but disagree on how to handle it, please call a trusted advisor—your child’s pediatrician, a psychologist or even a family relative to you both trust.
Now that schools have closed and most of us are working from home, it’s important to discuss your workloads with one another. Yes, this can be very challenging but you are going to need to establish a schedule that works.
Successful co-parenting means that your own emotions—must take a back seat to the needs of your children as your number one priority should always be the well-being of our children.
Do not be afraid to involve your co-parent’s current spouse or partner in the discussion. These are special times which call for special action. Your child deserves no less.
When it comes to making decisions communication is key. Understand that you and your co-parent may have different views about how to approach this pandemic and neither of you may be wrong or right, so it's important to be calm.
In a co-parenting arrangement, social distancing can work. As long as the child and the parent the child is with are not self-isolating, and therefore the household is not self-isolating, contact can continue.
There are measures that can be put in place that prevent you from coming into direct contact with the other parent or other members of the household. If you are picking up your child, don’t go into the house - wait outside, your child comes and gets in the car or meets you at the bottom of the path.
Provided you don’t have the symptoms, or you’re not being asked to self-isolate, you can continue to spend time with your children. Don’t take your children to playdates or anywhere where there are lots of people, but you can still have contact in the home, or even outdoors as long as you’re in open spaces and you’re not in a park full of other children.
If one parent has to go into self-isolation because they start showing symptoms, it will affect co-parenting because the government guidance at the moment is if one parent goes into self-isolation, the whole household has to. Once you’re in a period of self-isolation, that would be an automatic bar to contact continuing.
When direct contact can’t continue then there are of course indirect measures that can take place and, for a temporary period of time, such as Skype or FaceTime.
The judicial system will continue to move forward during these times. In New Jersey, our judges are doing everything they can with technology to keep cases moving even when courthouses are closed to the public and attorneys are working from home. While that could change at any time, the entire system is committed to ensuring the well-being of your family while many parts of society are closed down.
VAN TASSEL LAW:
Every day, indeed it seems hourly, there are new directives for the courts and attorneys. The Bergen County Bar Association has kept all of the attorneys in the know and we are all working together through these different times. I am here for my clients, I have access at the office and home to handle all matters. I have zoom set up and I am willing to work on any other platform my client/s may have or feel work better for them with the exception of FaceTime for meetings, including mediation.
If you have any questions or feel uncertain about your child custody, child support, or divorce during these unprecedented times, please feel free to call me. 201.664.8566 or use my online contact form, I will do my best to respond to you as quickly as possible.
Take a deep breath and stay positive and stay safe! Keeping positive in these difficult times will help us get through this an handle all of the challenges.