Co-parenting during the best of times can be a challenge, but co-parenting during a global pandemic can lead to added strain, require modifications or changes in parenting plans, and raise important questions for couples who are going through divorce and who are looking ahead to create a parenting plan that works. As Florida’s COVID-19 infection rates have spiked, there have been increased concerns about whether children will be able to return to school in the fall, and talk of further closures. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children might be home from school or university, the ability to move freely between homes may be somewhat compromised, and parents who may disagree about certain decisions for their children may find themselves facing tough compromises as the pandemic unfolds. Long & Associates, P.A. is a Naples, Florida divorce law firm that works with couples filing for divorce and with couples who may need assistance modifying parenting plans during this difficult and challenging time. What are some unique challenges that co-parents might be facing? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you negotiate a parenting plan or modify your parenting plan during the time of COVID-19.
- Making decisions when disagreements about social distancing arise. One of the challenges divorced or divorcing couples might face are disagreements about social distancing. Some parents might feel it is okay to have a play date if the group is small and the people are known, while others might feel that it is unsafe to gather right now. It is also unclear whether schools will re-open, but if they do choose to re-open, some parents have vowed to keep their children home, opting for home schooling or remote schooling to keep them safe. While parents should always follow the most current state orders, which will evolve with time, when it comes to discretionary activities, parents may need to negotiate these decisions when making or drafting their parenting plans or when modifying parenting plans due to changes caused by COVID-19. Ultimately, all people in Florida should be following social distancing orders, and if your ex doesn’t follow these orders and is endangering your child, you may be able to take action to protect your child. Long & Associates, P.A. is a Naples, Florida divorce law firm that works with divorcing couples and high-asset individuals to help them find a parenting plan that works.
- Visitation during COVID-19. Some parents might be home from work, or out of work. Others might be working from home. Others who work in essential jobs might have found that their hours have increased due to COVID-19. COVID-19 has changed many family’s schedules. In response to these changes, some families have had to modify their parenting plans accordingly. For example, when a parent works in a high-risk field, some families choose to have the children stay with the parent who works in a lower-risk field. Other families have been able to modify their parenting plans so that children enjoy more equal time with both parents, and some parents have opted to keep things the same. Whatever your choice, Long & Associates, P.A. is a Naples, Florida divorce law firm that may be able to help you.
- Consider the best interests of the children. It isn’t clear whether education will be remote in the fall. But many parents are considering their changed circumstances when it comes to modifying their parenting plans. For example, some parents are taking into account each parent’s access to internet, outdoor backyard space, and other factors that have suddenly become more significant in this time of social distancing. If you and your family are going through changes due to COVID-19, considering the best interests of your children is especially important at this time.
- Going through a divorce and still living together? The couples who may be most impacted by COVID-19 are those who were going through a divorce before the pandemic who now find themselves still living together in pandemic times. The pandemic has changed employment prospects, has affected individuals’ living situations, and has changed childcare arrangements for many families. If you are in the process of going through your divorce during COVID-19 and still live with your partner, NYU Langone has advice. When it comes to living with your partner while divorcing, consider each partner’s space and take steps to give yourself space in the home. Be clear about responsibilities from chores to childcare. And finally, try to avoid fighting in front of the children, when possible, taking discussions outside, to a separate room, or having them when the children are sleeping.
If you are going through a divorce or have questions about how to modify a parenting plan due to COVID-19, you don’t need to go through this process alone. Long & Associates, P.A. is a Naples, Florida divorce law firm that can help you draft or re-create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. Reach out to our divorce attorneys in Naples, Florida today or connect with us by looking for us at USAttorneys.com.