We are facing an unprecedented time in our history. The coronavirus pandemic has devastated our country in ways that, just a few short months ago, we never could have expected.
In North Carolina, businesses have begun to reopen and restrictions on social gatherings are loosening. At the same time, our state’s infection rate has been rising steadily since March. In fact, North Carolina is one of the only states in the country that has not yet reached its infection peak.
As a parent, you need to decide what health measures make the most sense for your family. If you’re divorced or separated, it’s more critical than ever that you and your ex are on the same page about how you respond to the pandemic.
How can divorced parents keep their kids safe?
Communication is an essential asset towards ensuring the safety of your children whether they are staying with you or your co-parent. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Health monitoring: You and your ex should have a plan to track the health of everyone in your household. If someone in your home develops COVID-19 symptoms or has confirmed/suspected exposure to the virus, you should immediately report this to your co-parent. You may want to start a routine of taking your child’s temperature every time they move between households. Additionally, if someone in your household gets sick, you and your co-parent need to have a plan in place for how to respond.
- Incorporating flexibility: With so many unknowns during the pandemic, it’s unrealistic to make a firm plan for how to proceed. Your plan needs to incorporate flexibility. For instance, if someone in the household becomes ill, this may force the custody or visitation schedule to change. In such cases, judges expect reasonable accommodations to be made – and make-up visits to be arranged.
- Setting expectations: You and your co-parent need to agree on what activities you both feel okay with your child engaging in. The parks may have reopened, but do you both feel comfortable with your child going there – provided they wash their hands afterwards? Taking your child with you to the grocery store increases their risk of exposure. Should they be allowed to accompany you on errands? Are there particular friends/family members that you child should be able to have physical contact with during this time?
The coronavirus presents many new challenges to our lives. Coming up with a game plan that you and your co-parent both accept can help reduce anxiety and protect your family during this uncertain time.