NJ Co-Parenting Attorney during COVID times
Read to learn some tips on how to keep a steady flow to your routines with your child and your co-parent.
This time in history is unlike any we have seen. Our nationwide shutdown paired with the capacity to stay in touch, in many ways, technologically, has led to the birth of a new normal in socialization, personal health protection, and professional roles. This new normal is nothing normal. So how do we balance ourselves when we are facing these drastic changes in our lifestyle and home and work situations, and we have a child to raise with a co-parent? How do we keep ourselves safe, and how do we create stability for our child when nothing about the world at this time feels stable?
Remember that your child and their safety are at the center.
Often, especially when our co-parent is an ex, it’s difficult to rise above petty arguments and power grabs. Co-parents often have different ideas about the best way to raise their child, and each wants to feel like they are doing a ‘good enough’ job raising them. Parenting time agreements are developed with the support of New Jersey family law attorneys and the court during the custody arrangement to ensure that the child’s wellbeing will be kept front and center during the separation process and into the separated life. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has changed much of the normalcy that the parenting time agreements seek to attain; and the added stress of financial and social woes, as well as fear for one’s family’s health and safety, create additional drama between co-parents.
Now is not the time to bicker. If anything, it is time to call on grace and work together as a team to ensure your child’s safety. If stressful interactions come up, keep this guiding question at the center of the conversation: What will help keep our child safe and grounded?
Maintain established routines as much as possible.
Now that some non-essential businesses are beginning to open back up and people are invited to travel freely on the road, it may be easier to fulfill the co-parenting schedules outlined in your parenting time agreement. Work from home or few financial limitations may change the context of your visits with your child, but routine is essential for their sense of stability and security. How can you be flexible within the court-mandated custodial arrangement to adapt your routines to the new times while still maintaining a sense of consistency?
Create systems of the new normal.
If you are able to maintain the parenting time schedules and create normalcy in the back-and-forth between parents, you’ll be able to elevate that consistency by working with your co-parent to develop safety systems. We all know we’re not free from the pandemic yet, and a surge of cases in the fall is very possible as more movement among New Jerseyans occurs, adding to the risk of another outbreak of this highly contagious virus. In order to create a family culture of safety while immersing in your regular routines, develop habits and rituals that the child and their parents will take part in at each of their homes. This will help the child feel anchored, no matter where they are and will keep you all safe. Systems could include
- established emergency procedures for what to do if anyone in the family shows symptoms of the virus,
- routines for disinfecting upon arriving at home,
- routines for keeping spaces like the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, and car-free from infection,
- and ways your child can take responsibility for their own hygiene and that of the family by having a role that they carry out at each of their homes.
Be willing to bend without breaking.
Everyone on the planet is in uncharted territory, and this, of course, includes your co-parent. Meet any projections of stress or rigidity with compassion, and do your best to hear the essence of their jabs without shutting down or fighting back. Flexibility is the key to navigating these times, and it builds resilience that you will model for your child. You’re doing great, and you’ve got support.
Contact our Union County, NJ Family Law and Child Custody Attorneys for a Virtual Consultation Today
At the Law Office of Edward S. Cooper, we are committed to supporting our clients across Rahway, Clark, Roselle, Roselle Park, Garwood, Elizabeth, and throughout Union County, Essex County, and northern Middlesex County in their needs as they related to navigating custodial arrangements and co-parenting during this pandemic.
We look forward to scheduling an online consultation with you to answer any questions and concerns you have about the legal – or practical – implementation of your parenting time agreement. Please contact us online or call our Morristown, NJ office by dialing (908) 481-4625 today.