Co-parenting can be challenging in "normal" times. But, what about during a pandemic, like the one we are experiencing with the coronavirus? There are some unique challenges and issues that can arise. Here's a few thoughts to keep in mind:
1. You must assume that your co-parent wants to protect your children as much as you do. No parent wants to put their child in harm's way. But, parents' opinions about risks and safety often differ. After all, you are no longer living with the other parent for a reason (meaning you weren't compatible in some way).
Propose guidelines that you will both agree to observe (wearing a mask when going out in public, for example). Get a commitment from the other parent that he/she will observe
all local rules and guidelines put in place.
2. Understand that your access to the court to resolve disputes may be delayed even more than normal during a pandemic. The courts may be more backlogged than usual, and most disputes will not be considered an "emergency", even if it has to do with schooling. The reality is, the issue may very well not be an issue anymore, by the time you get to court.
With that in mind, choose your battles wisely. Don't waste precious time, energy, and money arguing about something that will likely be a non-issue several months from now, when you get a court hearing.
3. Consider going to a court-certified family law mediator or parenting coordinator to resolve an issue. You can often get an appointment with one of these professionals much quicker than you could get a court hearing. See if you can get a commitment from your co-parent to agree to the suggestion of the mediator or parenting coordinator before you go.
Call several local professionals and ask questions, including what their fees are. If they won't give you a straight answer, move on to the next one. Be sure to tell a mediator or parenting coordinator what your goals are before you schedule the appointment.
Remember, always keep your issues with the co-parent between the adults. Do not put your children in the middle of your dispute with the co-parent. Do not make the child responsible for speaking up to the other parent about a safety issue. Teach your child what you believe are prudent and safe habits. Do not "warn", tell or imply to your child that they are not safe with the other parent or that the other parent does not care about them. Give your child the gift of security by letting her know that both parents are watching out for her health and safety.