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Tips for Co-Parenting During the Holidays in a Pandemic

 Posted on November 13, 2020 in Divorce

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Figuring out how to co-parent after your Illinois divorce can be challenging to say the least, especially during a pandemic. Our way of life has changed dramatically since last March when many states issued stay-at-home orders to stop the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Non-essential businesses were closed, and students have been e-learning from their homes. Although employees in certain industries may also be able to work from home now, our new normal presents different challenges. For example, parents of younger children might have a hard time monitoring their online activities if they have to participate in teleconferences or Zoom video calls during the day for their jobs. With the upcoming holidays, kids will be on extended breaks from school, so that means divorced parents will likely have to figure out new co-parenting arrangements.

Patience and Cooperation

Learning how to co-parent with an ex-spouse involves a willingness to compromise and be flexible. In some cases, if a child is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19, he or she may have to quarantine at one parent’s house for 10-14 days. This can disrupt an original parenting time schedule. However, for everyone’s health and safety, both parents need to be cooperative and understanding when plans change. In Illinois divorce cases, transporting children between homes is considered “essential travel,” but everyone’s best interests should still be considered, too.

Here are a few best practices for co-parenting while following social distancing measures over the holidays:

  1. Agree to disclose health issues. If a parent knows that he or she has been exposed to someone who tests positive for the virus, or if he or she is presenting symptoms, that parent must tell the other parent immediately. Likewise, if the children are going to school with a hybrid schedule, both parents should be notified by the school if their child was in close contact with a student who comes down with the virus.
  2. Set boundaries on activities. Parents should discuss their expectations for when each of them has the kids. This can include places the children are allowed to visit, if they should wear a face covering, how long they can be out, and how many individuals in a group gathering. For instance, they may want to create a list of people with whom they and their children have contact, such as caregivers or other relatives who may be in town for the holidays.
  3. Consider temporary order modifications. Changing an original visitation order may be appropriate during COVID-19 restrictions. To minimize the risk to everyone involved, perhaps switching to the children being at each parent’s house one or two weeks instead of going back and forth every few days may be safer.
  4. Practice safety during drop-offs and pick-ups. Health officials are still urging the wearing of face masks to protect against contracting the virus, and this includes when kids are transported between homes. Children may feel anxious during this unprecedented time, so being on the same page for these issues can alleviate some of the stress of the situation. In addition, one parent could provide all of the transportation to maintain a feeling of security, routine, and consistency.
  5. Encourage virtual visits. If the kids are at one parent’s house for an extended period, give them adequate time for visiting with the other parent virtually through Zoom or FaceTime. Allowing kids to text or call the other parent or grandparents can provide a sense of comfort and normalcy, especially if they are used to seeing them on certain holidays, like Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.

Contact a Barrington Divorce Lawyer

Parenting after a divorce can be difficult, let alone during a stay-at-home order due to a global pandemic. Federal, state, and local restrictions and guidelines are constantly changing, so communicating on a regular basis with your ex-spouse can help in making your children’s well-being a priority. Attorney Nicholas W. Richardson is an experienced Inverness divorce attorney who will zealously advocate on your behalf so your parental rights are protected. Call us today at 847.873.6741 to arrange a free and confidential consultation.


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