What is your recourse if you believe your Ex isn’t being careful enough during this pandemic? What do you do if your Ex is overreacting because of all the increased stress and causing undue fear in your kids? Where is the line of sanity in this time of crisis and what happens if your Ex is too far on one side?
When Will Things Change?
The virus is going to be here for awhile. What will change to make things go back to normal? When will you know normal is back? Until there is widespread testing, precautions and social distancing will need to continue. As the economy starts to open up and people return to work, how much risk is acceptable for your kids?
The longer this goes on, the more people we will know who are positive for this virus. If you or your Ex are exposed to a new ‘positive’ does the 14-day quarantine period start all over again? This could end up putting one, or both, of you on quarantine for months! When do you fully return to the original parenting plan?
Do you wait for societal indicators before ‘normal’ is decided? Do you wait for most of your kids’ friends to start having birthday parties again? Do you wait for schools to re-open? What if a couple of summer camps begin to take kids? What if all of that happens and your Ex’s co-worker tests positive? Is it back to quarantine and suspension of parenting time?
How Do You Decide to Answer These Questions?
Who gets to decide what is right? This isn’t a question of should you make your child play a sport they don’t like. This is about the health of your family: your kids, you, and other loved ones.
As a general rule, if one parent or one household is in a high risk group, they get to set the rules for risk. Their physical condition should not be used as a vulnerability, nor should what we’re living though leave them with increased fear because of disputes over taking reasonable precautions. Err on the side of caution: no block parties, wash your hands, stay at home.
But what if one parent is predisposed to worry and anxiety while the other parent is pretty relaxed and doesn’t pay close attention to details?
Decisions Should Be Supported By Science.
Do the kids have to wear a mask or bandanna around their face? Can the kids play ball with the neighborhood kids if they stay 6 feet apart? What about contact with your Ex’s new partner’s kids whose mom works as a nurse? When is it okay to take your kids to church?
Questions like this is what communication is made for because there are no set answers. There are no universal truths about what we should be doing: we just don’t know. Now is the time to gather the information we do have, the guidance given by the experts, and then talk about the risk-reward balance for your personal situation.
If you disagree with your Ex about risks, now is your time to build an argument for your position and then convince the other person. Otherwise, both parties should fall back to the guidelines issued by the CDC, their state or local governments, or the children’s physician.
This is a very dynamic situation. Things are changing every day as we get new information and data. Activity that might be low risk for one area, may be high risk for another. What might be deemed as safe today, may be deemed dangerous tomorrow.
There are many resources available, sometimes TOO MANY! If you need any help locating what the guidelines are for your specific location, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our Covid Resources page.
What If My Ex is Withholding Custody Because of Exaggerated Fears?
Coronavirus makes everything more difficult because the Courts are not easily available to answer questions and resolve disputes. While some jurisdictions are accepting emergency hearings and issuing orders, it’s not necessarily easy, nor are you guaranteed that your case will be heard.
Remember this is a very disruptive time for your kids. School is out, their social circle has been broken, activities are at a halt, they are having to spend a lot more time inside, routine is tough to maintain, expectations are changing, and there is a lot of unknown. This kind of chaos is REALLY hard on children!!!
Maintaining as much normalcy (such as following the parenting plan and seeing both parents) is in their best interests as long as they (and other members of the household) can be physically safe. If you approach your Ex with this being the goal – providing your kids with the security that they still get to see both parents; that following the parenting plan will help make life normal; that some change in scenery will do them good – then you may get further in your negotiations. With Courts being closed, try to convince your Ex into online mediation, just to figure out what is best for the kids in this very crazy world.
Be very careful that your EX doesn’t make your child feel even more insecure during this time! While it’s absolutely appropriate to teach your kids age-appropriate precautions to take, don’t let them think that they are going to catch this virus if they go see a parent. Where your children go and who they see is up to their parents – NOT them! If it’s been decided that your child is leaving the house for parenting time, do not let them think that means they will get sick! Emphasize washing hands and staying safe, but don’t make them scared. This is a difficult time and we all need reassurance that things will be okay.
Because of the financial consequences Covid is causing, Text Your Ex has reduced it’s online mediation service to $10. We want to do our part in helping families through this time. If your Ex refuses to cooperate through mediation, sign-up for a Brainstorming Session for $10 and we can help you strategize your options moving forward.
And remember!! Get creative with the way you are communicating with your kids during this time. You can maintain a close relationship while social distancing. Don’t let your emotions revolving around your Ex’s decisions affect how you interact with your kids.