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The COVID-19 pandemic and co-parenting

We recognize that co-parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic can be challenging and frustrating. We have below, a few tips of what you need to consider and have in mind when discussing arrangements for your children, with the aim to alleviate the stress that this unprecedented time have brought to your lives, the lives of your children and relatives.

  • Keep the welfare of the children in mind. Remember you have an obligation to keep the children safe and to keep yourself and the other parent safe. Contact between the children and the other parent should be encouraged during this time.
  • Both parents should agree a time for discussing co-parenting that is convenient for both of them. Do not discuss the plans for the children with the other parent with the children present and do not present the said plans to your children without first discussing it with the other parent. Informing the children prematurely of what your plans are can cause them to create expectations that later on can be frustrated and cause them great upset and anxiety.
  • It is recommended that parents agree an agenda with the plans and goals for the children.
  • We recommend that you set ground rules for the discussion including the need to be respectful in your conversation and to have breaks if emotions get too high. Remember it is better to reconvene at a later day or time to try to reach an agreement than to ruin the communication channel you have for being unable to stop a heated argument.
  • Check with the other parent about what is happening in their household. Don’t make assumptions. It is okay to ask.
  • Be open minded. Remember we are all dealing with this pandemic in different ways.
  • Thank the other parent for his willingness to discuss co-parenting during this time even if the conversation was not successful.
  • If you cannot reach any agreements seek the assistance of professionals such as collaborative lawyers, mediators and psychologists. Most of these professionals are offering teleconference and video calls during this time.
  • Please make sure that you comply with the government’s guidelines and laws.
  • Please consider the fact that you might have to adjust your co-parenting schedule and that your children might have to spend more time in one household than the other. In those circumstances it is recommendable that you encourage and ensure contact between the children and the other parent via Facetime, WhatsApp video calls, Skype and phone calls.