Despite the “Stay at Home” order issued by the California governor, parents are obligated to uphold court-ordered custody arrangements. While this situation comes with challenges, there are a few things you can do during this time of social distancing.
1. Stay Healthy
Make sure you are complying with all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. Additionally, you should keep yourself informed with up to date news surrounding the pandemic from reputable sources. When your children are around, ensure you are washing your hands, sanitizing frequently used surfaces, and maintaining social distance when out in public. Not only do these behaviors educate your child on correct procedures, but it also teaches them to perform these practices when not in your presence.
2. Practice Honest & Open Communication
Communicate with your child in an honest and open manner. Make sure you are upfront about the hazards and concerns of the pandemic, but relay this information calmly so you do not cause your child to worry. Do not discuss your own concerns around your children and try not to expose them to the news media. Make sure you listen to your child and answer any questions they may have as truthfully as you can without causing them stress.
3. Comply with Court Orders
Your custody orders and arrangements exist to prevent parents from arguing over who should have your child on certain days and how you should be parenting them. Make sure you and the other parent are on the same page on how you would like to address the pandemic with your child and stick to your custody arrangement.
4. Be Flexible
While the custody orders and arrangements are in place for a reason, sometimes you or the other parent can't comply. For example, some parents have health care or other essential careers and may be called to work overtime or extra shifts during this time. If this is the case, adjust the custody arrangement accordingly.
5. Maintain Transparency
Now more than ever it is important to keep an honest and channel of communication open with your co-parent. This means you shouldn't hide if you believe you or your child has been exposed to the virus and discuss what you think the next steps should be. If your child is exhibiting symptoms of the virus, inform the other parent immediately so you can make important health care decisions together.
6. Practice Generosity
If there is a valid reason why the other parent must miss their scheduled custody time, don't be petty. Instead, let them make up that time when they are free and able to give your child adequate love and attention.
7. Remember to Be Understanding
There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many, many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances. Adversity can become an opportunity for parents to come together and focus on what is best for the child. For many children, the strange days of the pandemic will leave vivid memories. It’s important for every child to know and remember that both parents did everything they could to explain what was happening and to keep their child safe.
Compassionate Family Law Specialists
We understand the upheaval to daily life the COVID-19 pandemic has caused. If this upheaval is making it difficult for you and your former partner to uphold existing court-orders, our Los Angeles attorneys can help. Contact us today to learn more.