Coronavirus Co-parenting Leads to Influx of Calls to Attorneys
The coronavirus and the measures taken to stop its transmission have disrupted lives throughout the United States. People who are co-parenting after a divorce or the breakup of a non-marital relationship are experiencing particular difficulties as travel is limited and custody and visitation schedules are disrupted.
Family law attorneys have faced a deluge of inquiries from individuals reacting to the pandemic’s effect on their parenting plans. Each parent-child relationship is unique, but some of these general guidelines might help you get through the tough times together:
- Focus on the children — As children deal with pandemic-related fear and uncertainty, parents have a responsibility to support and comfort them. Despite the cabin fever and economic pressure, mothers and fathers should make an effort to put up a united front in order to keep everyone physically and emotionally healthy. Minor conflicts can be dealt with once the threat from the pandemic lessens and children have returned to some of their normal activities.
- Seek temporary revisions if necessary — If you’re concerned that the custody and visitation terms in your present order cannot be complied with while the area is gripped by the pandemic, you do have options. Rather than risking sanctions, you and your attorney can seek to negotiate some temporary revisions to the parenting plan. Although courthouses are closed, discussions can be conducted by phone, e-mail or video conferencing and you can use a qualified family law mediator to help find common ground. Once consensus is reached, papers can be filed with the court without making an appearance.
- Be creative — The strict rules associated with COVID-19 orders, such as New York PAUSE, can cause stress for both custodial and noncustodial parents. With schools and day care centers closed, parents with primary residential custody might have to find ways to keep their children occupied and to help them with online learning. Noncustodial fathers and mothers have to deal with travel restrictions and the shutdown of activities that they enjoy sharing with their children. Whatever situation you’re in, creativity is key even if for a while you need to join each other for online games and musical performances rather than going out for the real thing.
No one knows exactly when stay-at-home orders will be lifted and you should not try to wait out a problem that negatively affects your parent-child bond. Assistance from a knowledgeable family law mediator will help you save time as you and your former partner work toward solutions that make the COVID-19 crisis a little easier to bear.
Solutions Divorce Mediation in Dix Hills serves Long Island parents seeking to resolve child custody issues and other family law matters. Please call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online for a free telephone consultation.