Co-parenting can be challenging in the best of situations…. then in walks a pandemic. The last year has presented challenges in custody schedules, changes in school and work, financial difficulties, and upended our sense of balance in a myriad of ways. We have seen a rise in domestic violence, substance use, and mental health problems, all of which, in some cases, have contributed to a rise in divorce rates.
For those who have decided to divorce, there is always unchartered territory, and to navigate divorce and co-parenting in a pandemic has been increasingly difficult. Co-parents have disagreed about what COVID precautions to take, what medical decisions to make, and the level of acceptable risk associated with COVID. For example, as schools have reopened, parents have had to decide if they will send their children back to in-person learning or remain virtual. This school decision alone has sent families to court to have a judge make the decision for the family.
While going to court can be necessary in some cases, it is expensive and can negatively impact families. The court process is stressful to children and parents as it often increases angst and frustration between co-parents. Involving the courts also takes away some of your decision-making ability as a parent. When a Judge makes a decision, it is based on limited information that can be presented in a limited amount of time, and the Judge very rarely meets the children.
Parents can maintain control of their decision-making abilities through attorney collaboration, mediation, and co-parenting services. If you are able to work together to find a solution through a pandemic, this will serve you well for future co-parenting decisions.
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