For Divorced Parents, Coronavirus Means Extra Complications
Though we’re all subject to the health risks and lifestyle restrictions associated with the COVID-19 virus, how we choose to protect ourselves is influenced by personal considerations. Raising sons and daughters after a divorce always presents complications, but the unexpected coronavirus pandemic has triggered new conflicts over custody and visitation, as parents who live apart may have significantly different ideas on what is safe for the children they share.
The turmoil caused by the coronavirus in New York might raise some tough questions about parenting arrangements, such as:
- What safety measures should be taken? — All parents want their child to be safe, but we can see that people have vastly different ideas as to what that means in the face of the COVID-19 threat. Parents might disagree about whether a child should wear a mask or if he or she should leave the home at all. Some feel comfortable taking a walk in a park where social distancing can be maintained. Others don’t. Even travel arrangements that are established within a parenting plan are subject to disputes over concerns about public transportation and about possible exposure if a car breaks down or is involved in an accident.
- Is one parent’s home better equipped for the quarantine? — These days, a home isn’t just a residence but a schoolroom and recreation center as well. Arrangements that might have seemed reasonable prior to the pandemic could require some reevaluation. Unreliable Wi-Fi or lack of a proper work station might make things difficult for a student forced into virtual learning. If one residence is less crowded or offers a safer outdoor play area, it might be the better location until restrictions are eased.
- With courts closed, how do you resolve conflicts? — It’s almost always preferable for parents to find solutions through positive communication, and with the closure of family courts, that might be the only feasible option for now. If you’re involved in a dispute over a child custody or visitation, both parties should try to demonstrate extra patience, utilize available technology and retain professional assistance when warranted. You can use online video conferencing to discuss key issues with counsel, your co-parent and, if necessary, a qualified mediator.
Even in a time of national crisis, custody and visitation orders remain in force. Deciding on your own to deviate from them could lead to problems. A skillful family law mediator can give you the honest, knowledgeable guidance on how to reach an agreement that reflects changed circumstances.
Located in Melville, Long Island, Solutions Divorce Mediation assists New Yorkers who are engaged in custody and visitation disputes. For a free telephone consultation, please call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online.