Divorcing couples with children face incredible hurdles when it comes to parenting time. It can be difficult to establish an interim schedule of when you both will see your children. And it can be even more difficult to nail down a firm routine that will be legally binding in your divorce judgment. Now, there is COVID-19, and that has changed how we all live our lives. So, what do you do when the limitations and threats of the coronavirus affect your parenting time?
Consider the Basics
The most important issue when it comes to managing parenting time while in quarantine is the health and safety of your kids. You and your ex may have different ideas about how to manage this new way of life, but if there is one time to get along for the sake of the children, that time is now. Prioritize the ones who can’t fully take care of themselves.
Social distancing may require parents to temporarily alter how they share their children. As you figure this out, work through the following questions:
- Is it safe and in the child’s best interest to follow the established parenting plan?
- Is one parent working outside of the home, coming into contact with others and increasing the risk of exposure to COVID-19?
- Who else lives in each parent’s home? Is there a significant other who comes and goes and has contact with other people, potentially exposing the child?
- Can one parent manage home schooling better than the other?
- Does one home have access to more safe outdoor space for the child to play and get exercise?
Some situations may call for the children to stay at one parent’s home for the duration of the quarantine. As awful as that thought may be, it is not worth putting the kids at risk to satisfy your own needs.
The Emotional Toll of Parenting Time
Weighing what’s best for your child is only one part of determining how you and your ex will best manage parenting time during quarantine. You’ll also have to take into consideration those things called feelings – and there will be a lot of them. Some you might have to stuff down in the best interest of your kids. Others it will be essential for you to voice.
Help yourself by going over the following questions and answering them honestly:
- Do you worry that giving up parenting time to the other parent will make the child want to be with them more?
- Do you feel like your ex is trying to manipulate the situation in their favor or is really working in the best interest of your child?
- Do you trust that your ex will take the proper precautions about wearing masks and cleaning and sanitizing when they’re with your child?
- Are you concerned that if you allow for the adjustment of the parenting plan temporarily, it will never go back to the way it was?
- If you’re taking on the bulk of child care, what about child support – is it still fair as established?
- Can you have make-up days with your child if he or she stays with your ex longer than usual?
Do You Need to Take Your Matter to Court?
The coronavirus is new for everyone, including the courts. Legal and physical child custody rights could be affected, but it’s a good idea to talk to your Michigan divorce lawyer about the matter.
If you have serious concerns about any of the questions above, contact the family law attorneys at Femminineo Attorneys in Macomb, MI, to find out whether you have a valid legal issue or only a personal matter to navigate. Video meetings are available and we are here to help you navigate through this challenging time and keep your family safe.