How to Deal with Long-Distance Parenting during a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced significant changes to our daily lives. Many people have had to work from home and even teach their children from home, and we’ve all had to maintain as much distance as we can from one another to minimize the risk of infection transmission. All that has brought up a real conundrum for parents who are no longer together. Should the kids still go from house to the other? Is the risk of infection too great, making it so the kids need to stay on lockdown in just one home?
As with any custody issues, it’s always best to talk with a child custody lawyer in Arizona about your rights and your options. However, here are a few things that your child custody attorney is likely to tell you to help you manage long-distance parenting during a pandemic:
Amend the Schedule
Legally, you still have to stick to your custody order. None of the stay-at-home orders have rules in place that influence custody orders. Officials are still honoring the legal order that the court approved, and you need to stick to it or run into legal trouble. If you were to tell your ex that your children could not go to the other home, your ex could then call a child custody lawyer serving Tucson and take you to court, and you would likely end up penalized.
However, if the two of you are in agreement that it will be safer for the children to stay in one home, you can amend your child custody schedule. You should put the amended schedule in writing so that there is no confusion about who gets the children and when. The amended order should also include clear orders about when the temporary changes will end. You should work with a family law lawyer in Glendale to put together the amended order to ensure that everything is in place and you are protected against any trouble later.
If you and your co-parent do decide to keep the kids to one location and restrict visiting back and forth, you can use technology to help the children stay connected to the parent with whom they are not living. FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook video chat, Zoom, and many other tools are available to help parents talk to their children as if they were together in person. You can talk as often as you like using these tools, including just to do things like read books together or watch shows together.
You should also get creative when thinking about ways to connect. For example, you could play a game online together, or you could create YouTube videos to share with each other (you can share privately if you choose), or you could even take an online course together. Think about the things that your children would like and explore the possibilities.
Make Health a Priority
Of course, the main priority for all parents right now should be to keep your children support healthy. You should work with your co-parent to determine the best ways to keep your kids free of infection. That might mean amending the custody schedule, or it might mean implementing new guidelines in the home, such as constant handwashing, continual mask wearing, a ban on visitors, and so on.
If you cannot agree on these guidelines and you are very concerned about the welfare of your children, consult with a family law attorney in Tucson to explore your options.
For most of us, this is the first time we are experiencing a pandemic, so we are all figuring out how to get through this the best we can. The situation can become even more stressful for parents who have to figure out co-parenting with an ex while also keeping their children safe. Follow these guidelines to navigate the situation together, and consult with a Glendale family law lawyer if you cannot reach a consensus.
My AZ Lawyers can help if you are dealing with a custody dispute during the pandemic. A family law lawyer from our team will help you understand your options for modifying the schedule during the pandemic and fight to help you get the arrangement you feel is best for your children. We serve clients throughout the Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson, and Glendale areas. Call our office today to talk with a child custody lawyer about your needs.
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