It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on our daily lives. We took for granted the ability to go anywhere, be among crowds of people, even have faces uncovered. The world seems much scarier now, and if someone is a parent, fear of the virus can become crippling.
We all want to keep our children safe, and this pandemic can put people in a panic. Now with Florida opening up, there is fear of traveling or even leaving the house. When these fears begin to bleed over into co-parenting, real problems can ensue. What are the options for co-parenting with an ex-partner during the pandemic, and what steps should one take?
Draw Up a New Arrangement
Whenever a former couple needs to alter visitation plans, it’s best for them to do it themselves. Working together to create a plan that will satisfy everyone will lead to a harmonious result in the long run. After making the new agreement, put it in writing. Submit this writing to lawyers and the court. This will serve as protection and keep everyone accountable.
Follow Court Orders
Unfortunately, if two people were incompatible enough to get divorced, there’s a likelihood that they won’t be able to make an amicable change in visitation arrangements. That’s when it’s time to fall back on whatever the court originally ordered. Courts make their decisions for a reason. They expect these decisions to be followed. It may seem completely reasonable to stop sending the kids from house to house, but the court is not going to see it that way. Defying legal rulings could result in a contempt charge, and that’s a real problem.
When Someone Has Been Diagnosed with COVID-19
Courts will typically allow visitations to be temporarily suspended due to an illness. If someone in the home has been diagnosed with COVD-19, get documentation. Try to work out a temporary, two-week visitation halt with the former partner. Again, working together is always best when possible. When agreement isn’t possible, submit the paperwork to the lawyers and the court. Stay quarantined, and keep everyone safe.
When One Parent Isn’t Staying Safe
There is not much room to argue for suspending visitation when one parent believes the other parent isn’t taking necessary precautions. The court gives parents room to raise their children how they please. When a parent isn’t abusive or directly endangering a child, the law generally stays out of the home. Whoever has legal custody of the child is the one allowed to make decisions for that child. The concerned parent can try to alter arrangements with the other, but beyond that, there isn’t much that can be done. No matter how justified a parent may believe their actions to be, attempting to block visitation is going to be risky. Contempt of court orders, again, are serious and will cause serious legal issues.
In any divorce matter, the best option is to work it out with the other parent. When the realities of life make that impossible, stay with the original ruling to avoid trouble.