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Sharing custody during COVID-19

On Behalf of | Apr 1, 2020 | Child Custody |

We are in the midst of a global pandemic and anxiety levels are high. Shelter-at-home and stay-at-home orders (with an exception for essential workers) are in place across the United States, and countless public schools and non-essential businesses are closed for the time being. In all this chaos, it’s only natural for divorced and separated parents to wonder how to handle shared child custody.

The short answer is that parenting orders are not stayed at this time, and parents are urged to cooperate as needed. What does that mean, exactly?

Tips for co-parenting

 Remember that the courts are closed right now but will remain available for emergency situations and to enforce orders.  Contact your local court if this applies to you.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) have released a list of tips for parents trying to navigate co-parenting in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Their tips…

  • Stick to the agreement: Comply with court orders and child custody agreements.
  • Be flexible: If you or your ex have lost your job(s) and one of you is paying child-support, everyone is affected. The paying parent should pay what they can, and the receiving parent should try to accommodate while the country is still in crisis mode.
  • Be healthy: Model CDC, local and state guidelines maintaining social distancing, wiping down frequently touches surfaces and by modeling proper hand-washing of at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay informed: Avoid the social media rumor mill and stick to trusted and reputable media sources instead. Just don’t leave the news on 24/7, either,
  • Communicate: Discuss what to do in case either or both of you gets sick. Also share possible or confirmed COVID-19 exposure for either parent or any children involved. What will you both do if your child shows COVID-19 symptoms? Make a plan and stick to it.

Focus on your shared goal

No matter how stressful transporting kids between households during a pandemic for you and your ex, try to keep the focus on the kids. Parenting during a pandemic is new territory for all of us.