COVID-19 and Co-Parenting


What you need to know and how to prepare your co-parent

 
COVID-19 is everywhere you look, from international travel bans to school closures in towns, this unprecedented event is changing the structure of our present lives. Co-parenting is already complex, and your family will certainly be impacted in the days and weeks to come.

Co-parenting situations are unique to every family, especially dependent on each parent’s location and job. We have pulled together some information to help you figure out what to do.
 

Stay Informed

Rely on reputable and fact-based sources, including: Know the signs and symptoms of which to be aware, as well as the limitations that are being put in place in your area.
 

Consider the big picture

As inconvenient as many of the restrictions and social distancing recommendations may seem, please remember that this is a global pandemic. The millions of people being impacted around the world are experiencing these unprecedented times and are also trying to figure it all out.

Your co-parent is on your side when it comes to the well being of your child. Focus on being patient and kind in the way that you address each other.
 

Talking to Your Kids

The CDC has released outlines for how to talk to children about COVID-19.

Begin by asking what your child already knows about COVID-19 and try to dispel any myths that they may have heard from friends or media. Share fact-based information that is age-appropriate and focus on providing comfort to your child. While we need to keep children informed about what is going on and keep them aware of the ways they can keep themselves safe, there is no benefit in overreacting or scaring them.

Teach your child the importance of frequent handwashing, limiting face-touching, and social distancing. Explain that playdates and trips to the park may be limited in the coming weeks, but that you will be finding other fun ways to keep your family entertained.

Let your kids talk to you about the things that they fear, such as missing out on school or birthday parties. Remind them that all their friends are going through the same things, and that it is possible to learn/celebrate at home. Creating a positive environment in your household will help to keep your child calm and optimistic.
 

Make a Temporary Emergency Parenting Plan

Temporary parenting plans focus on short-term needs and lay out an alternate parenting plan in extenuating circumstances. A temporary parenting plan should be outlined in an agreed-upon format and documented.
 
Talking Parents is free to use on our website and there is a 30-day trial of the Standard version of the mobile app. By logging on and creating an account, you can create a documented record of your COVID-19 parenting plan.
 

Possible situations to consider:

  • If your co-parent tests positive for COVID-19 while they have custody of your children and everyone involved must be quarantined for a 14-day period.
  • What to do if your child gets sick and must stay home from school.
  • What will happen if either parent loses their job and how to deal with financial hardships that may follow.
  • If schools and childcare options are not available for an extended period.
  • If you, your child, or anyone in your immediate family is immunocompromised.
  • Determine which parent will pay for medical costs that could arise during COVID-19.
  • Travel restrictions that inhibit plans or make it impossible for parents to exchange custody.
  • How often parents and children should be in contact each day.
  • How you and your co-parent will communicate regarding the temporary parenting plan or modified custody situation.


Online Resources

If you have a lawyer, please contact them first. Consultations can take place over the phone and they can help guide you in creating a plan for COVID-19.

If you are looking for additional mediators or services, there are online mediators that can help. Visit Mediate.com, OnlineMediators.com, or place some calls to local mediators to find out if they offer online options.
 

We are here for you

Talking Parents’ mission is to make co-parenting simpler so that you can focus your children. In these uncertain times, having clear lines of communication between co-parents is more important than ever. Our website is always free to access, and there is a 30-day free trial of our Standard version.

This is an on-going situation and a conversation that we want to continue. Please reach out to our team on Facebook or through support if you have any questions regarding Talking Parents. We are unable to provide legal advice or counseling, so please contact your lawyer or a mediator if you need more information about your specific case.
 

TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.