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Help!  I’m Worried About Coronavirus and Visitation!

Co-parenting is one of the hardest things that parents do with one another.  When those parents have been through a divorce or live in different households, co-parenting can seem impossible.  Especially during times of stress and uncertainty.

Today, many mothers and fathers are trying to decide how to handle the threat of the coronavirus and visitation with their child.  Many have fears and anxiety about allowing children to spend time away from their own households.  Yet, absent emergency circumstances, visitation schedules and court orders must be followed.  What can worried parents do in this crazy new world?

  1. Communicate.Let one another know what your fears and concerns are.  Then share thoughts and ideas about how to address or alleviate those worries.  Finally, work with one another with respect to come up with a plan in the child’s best interest.
  2. Be consistent.Work together to come up with a consistent plan in both households to confront the coronavirus threat.  What is each parent going to do with regard to social distancing?  What is each parent going to do with regard to playdates?  How is each parent going to handle exposure to vulnerable family members, etc?
  3. Be flexible.Be prepared to handle adversity and fix problems or challenges as they arise.  What will the parents do if one of them gets sick or develops a fever?  What if the child gets sick or develops a fever?  What if a member of either household gets sick or develops a fever?  Parents should think through theses contingencies and have a plan ready in the event that something happens.
  4. Use common sense.If circumstances dictate, parents should respect visitation orders and the child’s best interest by meeting in open public spaces such as parks.  Respect social distancing by maintaining a minimum of six feet of distance between people and avoid hugging, kissing, holding hands, or shaking hands.  Of course, parents and children should wash their hands frequently and should not be hesitant to apply hand sanitizer.
  5. Be considerate.The coronavirus threat has created an uncertain and scary time for everyone, including children.  Parents should be mindful that children hear what their parents say, how they react, and how they respond to stress.  Parents should strive to be kind and patient with each other and their child.  Parents should always save difficult or argumentative discussions for a private setting.

Court orders, unless there is an emergency, must be followed, even in these times of coronavirus.  Mothers and fathers should always remember that visitation schedules are not only there for them but that they are there for the child as well.  At its heart, effective co-parenting is always based on the mother and father putting the child’s best interest in front of their own.  That is especially true in this uncertain time.  If you have questions or thoughts on this issue, please contact one of the attorneys at Browne House Law Group at (205) 293-5293.