Co-parenting and Corona Virus
No-one likes uncertainty, least of all children. Corona virus is scary for all of us, and families will need to work together to make sure anxiety and worry don’t take over.
In families where children are moving between houses, with different rules and different styles of parenting, this time may prove extra tricky. Our wellbeing, health and safety should remain at the forefront of the decisions we make.
Here are some tips to consider:
Your children may be scared and worried as we are preparing for dealing with this unknown illness. It is helpful for both parents to send the same message to their children and acknowledge their children’s feelings. Speaking to your children, in an age appropriate manner and with factual information may be one way to reduce your child’s concerns.
Parenting arrangements may need to change from the ordinary routine that everyone is used to, to different, more flexible arrangements. Some parents may need to self isolate, where one parent has travelled overseas – parents will need to accommodate each other with these changes. It may also be helpful to look at other options to communicate with the children, such as video calls, telephone calls. Offering makeup time for the parent who had to self isolate could be an idea for a discussion and consideration.
Most families who are co-parenting still need the consent of both parents to make major decisions relating to their children. This can include issues of the children travelling overseas, and medical matters. Another major topic to be discussed will be schooling – should the children be staying home from school, if so, who will look after them. If your child’s school is already closed looking at how best to plan and arrange matters around the education and other commitments.
Parents must talk with each other and try and reach agreement on these important decisions. Working together and creating some certainty and stability, will no doubt reduce stress and worry for parents and children alike.
Joelene is a Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator at McLaughlins Lawyers. Joelene has been co-parenting her two children since she divorced in 2012. If you have queries or concerns about how the Coronavirus may affect your co-parenting arrangements, you can call Joelene on (07) 5591 5099 to discuss your family law matter.
Author: Joelene Nel
Director: Sophie Pearson
Date: 26 March 2020