Navigating co-parenting is hard enough without the addition of the world pandemic, COVID-19. For many parents this time of isolation and work uncertainties is extremely difficult but for co-parents there are the extra concerns surrounding existing child arrangements, changeover while practising social distancing and dealing with different household standards of personal hygiene and social distancing.
The below guide highlights ways in which you can work with your co-parent to put aside relationship issues for the health and safety of your children.
If a court order or agreement is in place you must continue to obey them unless you have a “reasonable excuse” not to do so. To understand what constitutes a reasonable excuse or if you can’t agree, please contact us for a no obligation discussion.
If your Parenting Order or agreement does not cover all of the changing circumstances then you and your co-parent may need to agree on some temporary changes or back-up plans.
These are unprecedented times and as such all of us are needing to be flexible at one level or another. Co-parents who work together to be flexible over shifting work commitments, routines, finances and where changeover happens (for the sake of the children and for each other’s sanity) will help everyone manage this extraordinary time.
Communication has always been the cornerstone of successful co-parenting and now more than ever communication is essential.
There are many changes in our lives right now and it’s far better to avoid making assumptions by asking questions and making sure you communicate with your co-parent any alterations to your situation.
Also, many parents are anxious about how their children are coping with home schooling and other lifestyle changes. Keeping your co-parent up to date with how your children are whilst they are will you may assist to alleviate stress and reduce conflict.
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An obvious but essential point is to remember that your children should come first. When decision-making conversations come up remember to keep the focus and conversation on what is in the best interest of your children’s health, safety and needs.
Understandably many co-parents are agreeing to slightly different terms than those previously outlined in their parenting agreement. It is advised that these temporary changes are documented.
If you feel like your co-parent may take advantage of the amended parenting arrangements after the coronavirus outbreak has passed you should speak to your family lawyer or mediator so that they can draft a simple stipulation saying the amended arrangement is not setting a precedent and has an end date.
If you are in a high-conflict situation with your co-parent and are unable to navigate through this time you still have Family Dispute Resolution (mediation) available to you.
At Resolve Conflict Family Lawyers and Mediators we offer online mediation and consultations. If you are wanting to resolve a family law dispute or are interested in understanding how the online mediation process can help you, contact us today.
Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email [email protected]