Divorced Co-Parenting During COVID-19

Amid this COVID-19 world pandemic, separated and divorced parents are still coping with trying their best to co-parent.

I would be interested to know – has this pandemic crated more cooperation between you as parents or escalated matters?

We have kids who are needing to self-isolate in one parent’s home for any given reason, and that is impacting the other parent’s time. How has the communication gone around that? It would be expected that parents are flexible to ensure that the primary focus is on the family’s health and the prevention of the spread of the virus.

Given the severity of the governmental response to the situation, I imagine that the courts once reopened will not be sympathetic to those who disregarded efforts to contain the spread.

We have parents who have differing views as to how seriously to take this pandemic and the world’s recommendation to self-isolate at home to “flatten the curve”. If one household is adhering and the other is not, what do you do? The kids are being exchanged and possibly carrying the virus between the homes.

Both families should agree to adhere to the provincial guidelines and be transparent if a possible exposure has occurred. Failing to do so could have astronomical health consequences for the health and safety of both of your households.

Any conflict that arises, we used to have the courts to fall back on to resolve for us. No more. The courts are all closed except to those matters of an urgent basis – parenting conflict is typically not considered urgent. So, you and your co-parent are left to figure it out one way or another.

Enter mediation and collaboration. If you just simply cannot do it yourselves, these are mechanisms to utilize a neutral person (mediator) or each of your lawyers (collaboration) to assist you to resolve. I have been getting calls from former clients who need a session here and there to resolve a dispute that has arisen.

Sometimes all that is needed is a quick video-conference to get things back on track, ensuring that you’re both heard and understood, and that a compromise to the situation can occur. I am grateful that I can remain here for separated families to help to de-escalate and to maintain cooperation for the whole family’s safety.

Do your best to work together as co-parents. Reach out for help if you need from your divorce professional. Although our office is closed to the public, we are open and the staff is working remotely to maintain our service delivery to families in need during this crisis. Clients have welcomed our mandatory Zoom video-conferencing meetings and we have helped to keep families on track.

As we all sit back, take a deep breath, and try to absorb the state of the world, stay safe and above all else keep your family safe.