The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts put out a recent press release sharing some important guidelines for parents who are divorced or separated and are sharing custody of their children during the Covid-19 Pandemic. To view the entire list of guidelines, click here.
Comply with all Center for Disease Control, local and state guidelines that are released. Please continue to model good behavior with your children including good hygiene like washing their hands, cleaning surfaces, and maintain social distancing. This does include staying information with reliable media sources. Please avoid rumors and fake news on social media.
Maintain a calm attitude and be honest about the seriousness of this pandemic we are all facing. Encourage your children to ask questions and express their feelings on the situation. Don’t allow them to watch the news 24/7 and make sure everything is age-appropriate.
Be Compliant with court orders and custody agreements as much as possible. The orders and agreements exist to prevent disagreements in timesharing. Even if schools are closed, the agreements should remain intact.
While most schools, amusement parks, museums, and other entertainment venues are closed, and some parents may be working overtime or not working at all, please encourage time between the parent and child. Books, movies, games, or other activities will help keep the children busy.
Let your co-parent if you suspect or have confirmed exposure to the virus. Be as civil as possible and try to agree on what your next steps are to protect your child from exposure. Both parents should be informed if the child is showing in symptoms of the virus.
Provide extra time for the parent who missed out on spending time with the child. Family law judges take this into consideration for later filings when parents are inflexible in unusual circumstances.
This pandemic will pose a possible economic hardship for many people with lost earnings. This will affect both sides, parents paying child support and receiving. If the paying parent cannot pay the full amount, be understanding of this situation and try to be as accommodating as possible in this circumstance.
The main goal with these guidelines is to have an opportunity for parents to come together to focus on what is best for the child.