Custody can be one of the most fraught aspects of divorce for couples that have children. Partners who are angry, hurt, or disappointed at the dissolution of their marriage — or whatever led to the breakdown of the marriage — tend to allow either money or child custody to be the issue through which they express their ire. This outcome is hard on all involved and is especially so when the situation is exacerbated by a crisis.

If you and your ex-spouse are struggling with shared custody during the COVID-19 pandemic, you’re certainly not alone, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no solution. Your children are likely already stressed by school being closed and plans being canceled, so it would be best for all involved if you find a way to work together. Here are some tips on how to handle shared custody during these difficult times.

  • Make sure that you are doing everything you can to adhere to the CDC and local guidelines for safe behaviors and precautions, including social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks while in the presence of others. Stay aware of current events and avoid conspiracy theories and rumors.
  • When speaking about the pandemic to your children, remain honest and calm, encouraging them to ask questions and come to you with their concerns. Keep the news channels off when they are around and make sure that any comments you make about the behaviors of others do not disparage your ex-spouse.
  • Do not make arbitrary or unilateral decisions about custody agreements or court orders. Your existing custody agreement remains in place unless both of you have agreed otherwise.
  • Use your imagination when it comes to ways to entertain your child. The events and outings that you normally participated in during your custody are likely not available to you right now, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything to do. Be creative and take advantage of outdoor activities if they are available, books, virtual tours and games, and more. Do not hesitate to include your co-parent in Skype, Facetime or Zoom get-togethers, as your child may need the reassurance of seeing their other parent or family members out of fear about the virus.
  • Be honest with your ex-spouse about your own health, exposures and plans. By working together, you elevate your ability to protect your child from the virus. If you can, discuss plans for what to do if either parent or the child/children begin to show symptoms of COVID-19.

A crisis can bring out either the best in people or the worst, but by making an extra effort to be collaborative and cooperative with your ex in how you deal with your shared custody, you can help your child through one of the most challenging times in our collective history.

For help with divorce or custody issues, you can contact our team today!

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