Stress is high, the public is anxious and all that runs through the divorced brain is “MY KIDS.” A pandemic makes sharing time with children very challenging, but do not fear it can be done [best divorce tip ever] – keep following your custody ORDER. When the pandemic started in November 2019, no one was talking about co-parenting schedules in China. China said to infected people and carriers of the virus “you are quarantined,” end of story. In the US, quarantine has not been as strict or structured.
Thankfully there have been very few deaths in my region of the country; however, when President Donald Trump announced a National Emergency the first thought that came to mind, “what are we going to do about the kids?”
There are so many concerns that turn into “what if” scenarios. What if they get infected? What if my ex is a carrier of the virus or an innocent host? What if my ex infects me with the virus, because he hates me? What if I get the virus and then I can’t have my kids and they are stuck with their Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hide dad for two weeks? What if my immune compromised mom gets it because of the kids? What if, what if what if. The disaster parenting scenarios seem endless.
STOP the divorce co-parenting mind chatter. As a believing woman, I had to take my thoughts captive and give it to the Lord in prayer. Thankfully, my ex was not as menacing as I thought he would be. In the beginning, the schedule was altered slightly to stabilize things for the children with the drastic school closure. He came up with the terms for the new arrangement and then I followed them. If my ex is in control, and I do not rock the boat things have been working out (as a protective parent you must do this). If you have a controlling ex, do not try to control them or make them do anything, that response only exasperates the situation (learned from experience). After the first week, the schedule resumed to the ORDER with one modification and then the next week the regular schedule and routine was in place once again.
Whatever you do, do not deny visits to the other parent with “quarantine” excuses if neither of you have the virus. The logic behind us staying sane during this time include the following: people are still working, people are still following through with essential business, the world has not shut-down completely; therefore, in the legal ORDER world, it is business as usual on paper. That’s right folks, you need to still follow the custody ORDER especially if you cannot come to a temporary compromise or workaround to adjust to the new quarantine schedule. Now, if both parents love their kids they obviously will want their kids to be cared for while they have to work. If you are working from home while you have young children that is neglect, please do not attempt this (this goes for cohabiting parents too). DO NOT neglect your children!!! Let one parent be the designated caretaker or even alternate so the children are cared for if you must work from home. If alternating care-giving responsibilities during the week is impossible, you need to find a nanny that is willing to quarantine (hard to do, but not impossible) bite the bullet and budget the expense or find some relatives that can help. It’s possible to co-parent or parallel parent during this pandemic if you follow your custody ORDER; or if you don’t, your actions will haunt you in court once this virus is tamed.
picture credit: Boy & Girl