Co-parenting During a Pandemic
How has co-parenting been impacted by the pandemic? The answer is as varied as the families affected. We all know that divorce bears down on couples during many different stages of family life, leaving many people to enjoy blended families as divorcees remarry. Working to effectively co-parent children is obviously to the benefit of everyone involved as children, stepchildren, exes, stepparents, siblings, half-siblings, and step siblings all interact in what could potentially be a scheduling nightmare.
2020 saw the closure of schools across all 50 states, including Florida, impacting where and how child exchanges took place for many families of divorce. These temporary school closures required former spouses who may previously have had little face-to-face time, to exchange the kids in person, rather than at school. More contact between exes meant more irritation and strain for some families, often already feeling anxious about the pandemic itself.
Other issues related to keeping COVID-19 out of family “safety pods” have complicated matters further. When a child travels between homes, exposures to people necessarily increase. In blended families where multiple children are going in different directions, it can be nearly impossible to keep pod sizes manageable. When exes have challenging relationships, all of this makes things that much more difficult.
For families who never did have amicable co-parenting arrangements, greater difficulties may have emerged with the pandemic. In some situations, parents have decided to use COVID-19 as a weapon to keep kids away from another parent. Any of several rationales—none legally binding– lead to this behavior:
- The other parent works an essential job that has high exposure to COVID-19;
- One parent is fearful of COVID exposure at the other parent’s home due to lax precautions there;
- A parent who’s lost a job is errant in child support.
To be sure, some parents are simply more apprehensive than usual due to the pressures associated with the pandemic, and that anxiety is reflected in the inability to behave in kind and reasonable ways—especially toward an ex. But the sad truth is, kids suffer when parents can’t work together in the child’s best interests.
Back to School
As life begins to approach “normal” plenty of kids and their parents will feel the bruising left by past months of strain. Those who can look beyond those times and work for a positive present and future tend to make things easier for themselves. We know that kids benefit from the influence of loving parents, even when those parents are divorced. Now, more than ever, is an opportunity to model cooperation.
Having difficulties with your marriage or child custody arrangements been exacerbated by the pandemic? At WiseLieberman, our experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys can help. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your family and divorce needs.