Coordinating childcare when parents are separated or divorced can be difficult under the smoothest of conditions. Decisions need to be made regarding where the child spends most of their time, what school they attend, and what habits they maintain. In the midst of the pandemic, the situation is suddenly far more complex. Even in relatively amicable arrangements, the conditions of your custody agreement may currently be incompatible with present CDC safety recommendations or mandated announcements issued by the mayors of Tulsa and Oklahoma City. For the health and safety of the child and all other family members, parents must reevaluate how best to handle childcare as we continue to combat COVID-19.
Tips on Communicating With Your Child’s Other Parent
Before diving into specifics, it’s important to establish strong lines of communication among parents and caregivers. These will be necessary as you continue to navigate coparenting during a pandemic. Flexibility and understanding will be key to your conversations, as it will allow you to be more honest with each other, which is vital when discussing matters that could impact your child’s health. A way to exchange information effectively without allowing the interaction to become negative is to focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution that will provide the most benefit to your child. This can help reinforce your priorities, allowing you to overlook minor disagreements. Unfortunately, in some situations, you have limited control.
While you can moderate your own behavior to show compassion and generosity to the other parent, you cannot force them to act in the same way towards yourself. Even previously cooperative coparenting relationships can grow sour when faced with such extreme circumstances. These are unprecedented times, and it may be difficult for some people to be as kind and patient while they deal with the increased amount of stress in other areas of their life. If you feel that it will be difficult to have a constructive conversation with the other parent, consider involving child custody attorneys from Stange Law Firm to assist. Our lawyers are very experienced in working with complex custody situations and can act as helpful third parties for mediation.
Guiding Questions To Help Create a Pandemic Childcare Strategy
To create a new plan of action, it’s necessary to begin with an assessment of your child’s needs during the pandemic. It’s possible that, given the current challenges with traveling and visiting others, the ideal solution will involve allowing the child to stay with one parent until the situation is more stable. That means both parents will have to work together to determine which house is most appropriate. Consider the following questions as you evaluate your options:
- How many individuals live in each house?
- What are the sizes and layouts of each house?
- How much access does each parent have to open spaces that would allow for safe interactions involving masks and social distancing?
- Do any household members hold jobs that require them to interact with others in person, putting them at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19?
- Are any of the household members immunocompromised? Do any of them have preexisting conditions or belong to an age group that could result in COVID-19 related complications?
- What are the school’s plans for the school year? Will online learning be a requirement? If so, is there an adequate Internet connection and a computer at the house?
- Do you work at home, or do you drive to a separate location? Are you able to watch your child and work at the same time? If you are unable to watch the child, is there another person in the house, such as a family member, that can assist?
- Do you have the ability to call or video chat if your house is not your child’s primary residence?
With all this in mind, it’s important to remember that new information is released every day. In some jurisdictions, orders have been released to offer further instruction on how court orders and custody agreements should be interpreted and under what circumstances they apply. To ensure you’re doing what’s best for your child while being in compliance with the law, it’s vital to have a child custody attorney who can provide some much needed guidance and clarification. Local child custody attorneys will be fully prepared to answer any questions you have about any orders currently active in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
It may take a lot of work, but by working together to coparent successfully, you can prevent your child from having to endure unnecessary amounts of stress and concern. They are going to experience a lot of disruptions in other areas of their lives, including school, daycare, and socializing. For more help in handling this unusual situation, reach out to Stange Law by filling out our online form or calling us at 855-805-0595.