“I don’t want to go to Dad’s. I have all of my school stuff here and I don’t want to pack it up.” I knew it would come. Last week was “I can’t wait to go” and this week it was bemoaning the same fact. Co-parenting during COVID-19 continues.
This week in my lawyer role, we saw the good, bad, and the ugly in co-parenting surface. I used to say that divorce sometimes brings out the worst in parents. Now I know better. Divorcing during a pandemic beats that by a mile.
For the most part, parents continue to follow their parenting schedules without incident. Life for these families is going on as normal. Fundamentally, these co-parents are doing a great job of not upsetting their child’s normal parenting routine/schedules when all of their other schedules have fallen by the wayside. And if these parents are anything like me, they are probably relieved when transition time comes after homeschooling their kids for any amount of time.
Then we move to those parents who parent differently and refuse to communicate with one another about their needs (for themselves and their children). Everything is transmitted in bits and pieces through their children. A parent finds out the other parent isn’t staying at home (like they are) by hearing about trips to Walmart or visits to the park to play with friends. There is no consistency between households and as a result, children are met with mixed messages.
The worst calls we received this week were those of parents in distress because the other parent was withholding the children for an exchange under the excuse of COVID-19. Children are already saddened and stressed about not seeing teachers, classmates, and coaches. Add to this that now they believe they will not see their parent for an indefinite amount of time.
For co-parents, communication is critical during these days. There is nothing in the state-issued mandates that prevents parents from exchanging their children, nor will there be even if we move to a shelter in place scenario.
As always, it means putting the love of your children above any negative feelings you have about your former partner. For some I realize that is a Herculean task, but persist. Your children need consistency, love, and connection with both parents during this overwhelming and scary time.
If you are need of additional co-parenting support during this time, please call Koenig Dunne (402) 346-1132 for legal advice with one of our lawyers. In addition, I am happy to offer Co-Parenting Coaching. I can do this via web chat, phone conference or email.