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Coparenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coparenting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While some states are advising parents to adhere to their original custody schedules, there are certain ways the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted coparenting and made it a challenge to adapt.

Advising Parents to Stick to Their Schedule

In some states, attorneys are recommending couples with shared custody to keep their schedules throughout the pandemic. One such example includes a couple in Texas whose attorney provided this advice. The couple’s specific situation involved the child’s father planning to visit the mother’s home in Texas, where he would pick the child up. However, after crossing the border into Texas from Louisiana, the state where the parent relocated, he would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period. To help resolve this issue and maintain the original schedule, the couple’s attorney advised them to meet at the border.

While the circumstances may vary from couple to couple, the pandemic is making custody difficult in several ways. To help mitigate the situation, certain states’ Supreme Courts are issuing orders or general guidelines for parents to avoid making any changes to their custody schedules.

In addition to crossing borders, other circumstances involve the need to take public transportation to visit or pick up a child, which is currently dangerous as it could lead to exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Unfortunately, at this time, there aren’t any specific guidelines in place to help couples facing these issues.

While some parents may be able to obtain court orders that help their situation, judges only help people whose cases are still in the system. This leaves many couples without guidance if they don’t have a pending case.

Guidelines Released in March

On March 19, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts collaborated on a joint statement, which included certain guidelines to provide some assistance to parents struggling with coparenting during these uncertain times.

The joint statement accounted for the fact that some parents would be required to work longer hours throughout the crisis. At the same time, it acknowledged other parents who may be unable to work normal hours, which could affect them differently. In these cases, the guidelines recommended the use of video calls, such as those conducted via Zoom or other virtual platforms, for parents to communicate with their children.

The guidelines also discuss the idea of makeup time in the event a parent is unable to visit or pick up a child at the original scheduled time.

While these guidelines are helpful, many parents are still awaiting more specific road maps for how to deal with custody throughout the pandemic. Until then, parents can seek advice from their custody attorneys or develop their own solutions to any issues that arise.

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