How to Handle Post-Divorce Child Custody Conflicts During the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of life. It should come as no surprise, then, that those changes have extended to post-divorce child custody. While the agreements made by former spouses during the divorce process were almost certainly made with the best interests of the child in mind, the truth is that the pandemic has no respect for such agreements. As such, there are a few basic steps that should be taken to ensure a safe and effective custody arrangement during these trying times.
While difficult, the first thing to do is to be realistic about how the pandemic is going to impact your custody arrangements. A parent being quarantined may cause one party to lose his or her visitation time, so an alternate arrangement should be found if possible. Likewise, changes in the availability of travel or childcare will have to be looked at to determine how the child's routine will be changed. These changes will be quick and often difficult, but it will be up to the parents to ensure that they are navigated as smoothly as possible.
If communication between the parents is possible. it is often a good idea to make a parenting plan for COVID-19. This will include both the steps that both parents will take to keep the children safe as well as basic steps that can be taken when unusual circumstances occur. Referring to this agreement can help the parents to better adapt without having to hash out the argument every time the situation changes.
With this said, there will be times when disagreements occur, and steps may need to be taken in order to keep the children safe. While in-person mediation is unlikely to occur in many areas, mediation through teleconferencing can be an effective way to allow both parents to have their say while still allowing a third party to mediate the situation. In those situations when a compromise is impossible, it may be necessary to go to court in order to have the custody arrangement temporarily changed in order to better navigate the new reality of COVID-19.
There is no easy way to co-parent during COVID-19 but there are steps that you can take to simplify the process. Try to be realistic about the situation and make whatever compromises you can, but make sure that you're willing to work to ensure that your child is kept as safe as possible. If you are dealing with a post-divorce child custody issue, make sure to contact the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971 to get the help you need.