You probably didn’t discuss world crisis and mandatory government lock-downs when you went to mediation or finalized your divorce. I bet your parenting plan doesn’t cover a global health emergency. There are no answers during Covid-19!
So what happens not just in the first days and weeks of this brave new world, but what happens as things continue to change and move around? Adjustments have to be made for school, work, day-care, finances, summer activities, family time, holidays, and summer break. In the beginning of this ordeal, moving through it, and getting out of this public health crisis is chaotic and uncertain. It will be a while before things are completely ‘normal’. We have a lot conflicting information, and people have different expectations of how this is going to end, but parents all share the same concern of wanting to keep their kids safe.
Make a Lasting Plan to Deal with Covid.
Things seem to be changing every day. You can’t constantly be arguing and re-negotiating with your Ex over the parenting plan and other coronavirus issues. How can you work out a framework that gives you guidance now, and as this crisis begins to resolve?
Recognize What’s Important to You for Safety.
Think about what is most important to you and how much risk you are willing to handle.
- Is there anyone in your circle that is vulnerable and needs to be protected?
- How much risk are you willing to accept for your kids?
Is there anyone in your circle that is vulnerable and needs to be protected?
If there is someone who is fragile because of underlying conditions, please, please, please, err on the side of caution regarding this virus. Loved ones who are at high risk of complications and a bad outcome need to be protected. This doesn’t answer who has to make the sacrifices and how this person should be protected, but this should be a main goal.
How much risk are you willing to accept for your kids?
Nobody can limit their risk to zero. Even if you are in full-blown quarantine, you are still at some risk through handling your groceries. We can’t get rid of risk but the actions we take increase, or decrease, our risk. Your decision for how much risk you find acceptable will be determined by how worried you are about contracting the virus for yourself, and your kids.
Evaluate How Your Kids Are Doing With the Current Situation
School has been interrupted, kids aren’t free to socialize and interact with other adults or their peers, routines are difficult to keep going, outdoor activity has been severely limited: how are your kids doing? Has there been a change in their behavior or personality? Are things becoming more tense inside the house? Has your child thrived with all of the extra parental contact and not dealing with the stress of outside care?
Life is always a balance. If your child is not doing well, then crazy-strict quarantine might not be worth it. Perhaps you do let them talk over the fence to their friends. Maybe you take them to the park (NOT to play on the equipment) to kick a soccer ball but knowing that you can’t 100% guarantee they won’t run up to someone if the ball gets away from them. If your child is coping like a trooper and things are better than you thought, then no reason not to prioritize staying as safe and as isolated for as long as you can!!!
Determine a Trustworthy Source That Can Resolve Conflict.
Trying to resolve conflict that has happened because of Covid through the Court is not necessarily a realistic option. Some jurisdictions may hear emergencies, but this is a very dynamic situation that will not be fully resolved until the pandemic is over. The goal is to minimize conflict and reduce your stress, worry, anxiety, and possibly lost parenting time with your kids, by finding agreement fast. Figure out now who you think is a reliable source.
How do you rank the directives coming from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and your state? Would you feel more comfortable if the advice was coming from your children’s physician? Recommendations, guidelines, and knowledge about this situation will continue to change every day so you need to have an authority that will help guide both parties when you can’t agree.
Get Covid Health Resources Here.
If you and your Ex live in different states, you will likely face a time when one state has a strict set of rules, and the other state does not. What happens then? Don’t wait for this problem to confront you – figure out the rules now! You want the rules to be fair to both parties without knowing which party will benefit. If you wait until you are in the middle of a conflict, you’ll never feel like the rules are fair and will be unhappy with any outcome. See ‘In the Time of Covid, What do You do if Your State has Different Rules than the State Where Your Ex Lives?‘
Keep Things as Normal as Possible for Your Kids
So many things for your kids are abnormal right now. Summer will also be very different. No family vacations, time with grand parents, possibly no summer sports, camps, swimming pools, concerts – there’s so much we don’t know and group activities of any kind may be too dangerous for the early summer months.
Try to maintain normalcy where you can. That means keeping the parenting plan as close to its original schedule as possible. Of course that may not be possible for a host of reasons, but remember that kids like predictability, they like certainty, they like routine! A different outlook in perspectives, a change in scenery, and a break in the household dynamics might help everyone.
If you start thinking about what’s really important to you, what sources you trust, and how you can balance your kids’ physical health with their mental well-being, you’ll be able to figure out how to start a conversation with your Ex that focuses on what’s best for the kids – which is what YOU BOTH WANT!!! Perhaps this is the moment you’ve both been waiting for to start a better way forward where the focus is only on the kids. Maybe this virus will give you a better post-divorce relationship that will make life oh, so much easier!
Text Your Ex wants everyone to have access to help, answers, and reassurances during this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to! All services are just $10 during the coronavirus crisis.