Co-Parenting During the Pandemic: Tips to Make It Through
Co-parenting in Central Florida can be complicated even under the best circumstances. To be sure, even when parents in Orlando get along relatively well, the stress of a divorce or a break-up and the need to remain in contact and communication for the sake of the children can be difficult. When parents have a contentious divorce and need to work particularly hard with a family therapist or family counselor in order to reach a point where they are able to co-parent through text and email communication alone, co-parenting is much more challenging. Regardless of the situation you were in with your ex prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, chances are good that the pandemic has made co-parenting much more difficult and complex.
What steps can you take to ease some of the difficulties of co-parenting and sharing child custody during the COVID-19 pandemic? An article in The New York Times has recommendations for parents, and we want to discuss some of them with you today.
Make Sure Every Aspect of Co-Parenting is Outline in Your Parenting Plan
While Florida law requires a Parenting Plan for all parents who will be sharing child custody, it is particularly important for parents to ensure that all aspects of co-parenting—from larger issues to day-to-day schedule issues—are included in the Parenting Plan. As the article underscores, “uncertain times” can make it much more difficult to make changes to a parenting schedule, and can result in tensions running higher than usual. For example, if the parents disagree about whether one of the parents should still be picking up a child from an after-school activity, or whether the child should be attending the after-school activity at all given the circumstances of the pandemic, it will be much easier to reach an agreement if contingencies are outlined in your court order or in a written co-parenting schedule you share with your ex.
While a Parenting Plan may not include specific contingencies tied to a global health pandemic, a court order can provide specific information about which parent will make certain decisions, and what course of action the parents will need to take if a disagreement arises.
Be Flexible if You Can
As we mentioned above, a Florida Parenting Plan cannot include information about all contingencies in a pandemic. Accordingly, if you are able to remain somewhat flexible, provided that your ex is also being flexible and reasonable, it may be easier to manage co-parenting during the pandemic.
Speak with a Lawyer About Modifying Your Parenting Plan if Necessary
If your ex is engaging in behavior that could be putting your child at increased risk of exposure to the coronavirus, or if your ex is espousing attitudes that suggest she or he could be putting your child at risk of severe illness during the pandemic, it is likely time to speak with a family lawyer about modifying child custody. You can ask the court to modify custody if a substantial change in circumstances has occurred. Courts in Florida have already recognized a parent’s dismissal of COVID-19 as a risk factor for kids in certain situations and have responded accordingly in modifying child custody.
Contact an Orlando Child Custody Lawyer for Assistance
Whether you are in the early stages of developing a co-parenting agreement and need assistance with your Parenting Plan, or you need assistance modifying an existing child custody order, one of the experienced Orlando child custody & timesharing attorneys at our firm can assist you. Contact Anderson & Ferrin today for help with your case.