Co-Parenting is tough enough without the added strain of a global pandemic. But here we are. So, for your reading pleasure, Lion Legal Services presents 7 best practices for getting through disaster without ruining your co-parenting relationship and/or scarring your kids for life:
1. Stay Calm
We will get through this. You will get through this. Our children will get through this. Life is hectic and not normal. Staying calm and being reasonable is the key to avoiding the time and expense of lawyers and judges when we get back to regular living.
Recognize both parents want what is best for the children and if that means re-scheduling visits, working together to coordinate new work schedules (hopefully work-at-home schedules), and suspending certain expenses that are now un-affordable, then do it politely and reasonably! Use common sense. If you’re not sure what common sense applies, call Lion Legal Services.
2. Don’t Make Threats
Right now, we all know the courts are closed. Threatening legal action is hollow. And the results will be luke-warm at best, by the time we get to court.
Arguing over legal custody, whose weekend it is, the influence of the new significant other while everyone shelters in place – who cares as long as we all live through this to complain to our BFFs how ridiculous the other parent acted, right? RIGHT?
3. Possible Infection?
If you, your household, or anyone you’ve been exposed to is a confirmed or probable (or even just maybe!) Covid-19 positive, do not hide this information!! Tell the other parent.
Right now, most sources tell us that children are not at high risk (except some are!); but they can definitely spread it. Unless your plan to rid the planet of your ex during this crisis (not a bad plan, honestly), make sure you disclose immediately of the possible or likely infection.
4. Joint Messaging
Keep a journal. This is really a brilliant idea; the journal goes between houses, traveling with the children, to document abnormalities, personality, and behavioral issues, and to keep uniformity in parenting styles and punishments. All agreed changes should be documented here too. This written record is invaluable in court and serves to bring reality to our exaggerated memories once we are through this crisis.
Kids are resilient; parents keeping on the same page helps them not feel insane! Any information that may alarm or upset the child (a global pandemic, for example) should be shared with both parents (before you tell your kids!) to create a joint message. They know about the pandemic already, so this is late advice.
Definitely consult and agree with your ex how this mess changes the visitation and other schedules. Non-conflicting information helps the kids (and the parents) cope so we aren’t under psychiatric care by the time this is all over.
Remember, we are the parents, folks. This isn’t an extra week (or six weeks) of Spring Break. Keep discipline and routine. Be stable. Work from home, designate areas for study, schedule regular meals with portion-controlled snacking – the Covid 19 extra 19 (pounds) is real, people.
5. Travel: Don’t
Do not travel. Do not request to travel. Do not call Lion Legal Services to complain that the other parent refuses to consent to pre-made travel plans. See above, why (global pandemic, if you have already forgotten).
No matter how reasonable you think your travel plan is, the judge won’t agree. And….at the end of the day, only the judge’s opinion matters.
6. Child Support
Even the apocalypse doesn’t change the child support rules.
If you are paying child support or other expenses, and you are now unemployed or in other financial straits, contact Lion Legal Services. We must document and file immediately to reduce so you don’t have to pay it all back when the economy booms.
Court is only open for emergencies. If you think your situation is an emergency….you’re wrong. It’s not. Unless that new significant other is cooking meth in the spare bedroom while everyone is quarantined, it’s not an emergency. I promise.
We Can Help
If you are looking for effective legal representation in Arkansas that won’t break the bank, look for us at LionLegalServices.com. We will help you figure out your options and what the likely realistic result is in your circumstances. Say the word and we’ll come Roaring to the Rescue!