Co-parenting after a divorce is never easy. Trying to navigate split custody during a pandemic is even more challenging.
As a parent, you may be worried about your job, future income, your child’s education, and more. In uncertain times, children need their parents to set an example of how to cope.
If you are stressed, angry, and fighting with one another, your children will suffer even more. Your kids deserve to feel safe and loved no matter what conflicts you may face.
If you are dealing with joint custody during COVID-19, here are eight tips for safe and healthy co-parenting.
1. Communicate With Your Ex
Communicating after divorce is not always easy. Resentment and hurt feelings can get in the way of effective co-parenting.
During times of crisis, your children need you to communicate in an open and respectful way. If possible, communicate on a regular basis about how your children are coping.
Do not discuss worst-case scenarios in front of your children. Be honest with them and as truthful as possible without causing them excess worry or distress.
Children suffer when their parents fight. Make a united effort to communicate with each other and work together for your children’s sake.
2. Follow Court Orders
Your custody arrangement is in place to prevent disputes and make co-parenting easier. Following this plan can help provide structure and stability for your child during difficult times.
If you have trouble communicating as parents, following your custody agreement can make things easier and prevent haggling over weekends and holiday arrangements.
If one parent refuses or fails to follow a court order, document each incident. This can help your case if you have to take legal action in the future.
If you face this situation, make sure you consult an experienced divorce lawyer for guidance.
3. Stay Healthy
Your co-parenting plan should include following disease prevention measures for each parent’s home. Safe practices can prevent your child from transmitting the virus from one home to another.
Model safe behaviors like hand washing your hands and social distancing. Stay informed and follow CDC preventative recommendations to keep you and your children as safe and healthy as possible.
4. Be Flexible and Creative
Whenever possible, try to comply with your custody agreement. Be flexible and understanding that you may have to make adjustments for visitations sometimes.
If one parent is not able to uphold their end of the agreement due to work, health, or safety issues, work together to make new arrangements. The safety and wellbeing of your children should always come first.
Find creative ways to communicate when one visitation isn’t possible. Zoom, FaceTime, and other apps provide ways to enjoy virtual visits. Your kids will fare better through difficult times when they know they are loved.
Seeing their parents work together can be a positive and calming force in your child’s life.
5. Set the Example
Your children learn to cope with the pandemic by watching you. You set the example for how to deal with difficulties and make the best of a bad situation.
As parents, take care of yourselves. Remember to eat right, get enough sleep, and take time for exercise and some fun. Keep your kids in touch with friends and family using technology.
Isolation is not good for anyone’s mental health, and children are the most vulnerable. If possible, work together to model healthy habits and perseverance for your children.
In some cases one parent may not be willing or able to provide any sort of stability. If you’re in this situation, you are not alone. You can be the example of strength and positivity your child needs.
6. Maintain Transparency
In difficult times, it’s important to keep lines of communication open with your co-parent. If your children are homeschooling now, that’s a big transition for everyone.
Work together to help your child navigate these new waters. Do not hide information about virus exposure. Instead, be open and transparent for the sake of your child.
If possible, maintain a united front and practice generosity and understanding rather than anger or resentment. Your children are watching and deserve parents who communicate for their good.
7. Resolve Conflicts
You may have experienced a difficult divorce. There may even be things about your ex that are less than ideal.
But, now is the time to try and put these disputes behind you and work together. Hanging on to negative feelings is not healthy and will hurt your children in the long run.
Unless you or your child is in danger, it’s best to resolve disputes and reach a peaceful agreement.
If you cannot come together, you may need to rely on a court order. Speak to a divorce lawyer for guidance in this situation.
8. Seek Help When You Need It
Co-parenting only works when there are two people dedicated to the process. That’s not always the case.
Don’t blame yourself if you are unable to co-parent with your ex. Some parents are unable to care for themselves or their children.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help if you need it. Talking to family, friends, or a therapist may help.
Split Custody and Co-Parenting
Split custody takes work and dedication. Adversity makes co-parenting harder, but not impossible. If both parents are willing to communicate and present a united front, you can make living through the pandemic easier for your child.
You want your children to remember their parents did all they could to keep them, safe, healthy, and happy during trying times. If you are in need of the services of a Denver divorce lawyer, we would love to speak to you to determine if we can help.
Contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney.