This is a pandemic for goodness sakes, why is your spouse being so difficult, you think to yourself. Do these exchanges really need to keep happening when it feels like the whole world has stopped? Do the children really need to traipse back and forth from your place to theirs? Aren’t they safer just staying in one place?
Although it feels like the world has come to a standstill, and perhaps like the sky is falling, and nothing is the way it should be, it is important to remember that the same is happening for your children, and your ex. Although it seems impossible to keep a routine in place, as much as you can, you should strive to have a routine; whether that be weekly exchanges, phone calls, or texts.
While it may seem that it would be simpler for one parent to have the child, or children, throughout the duration of the pandemic, no one knows how long this will last. No one knows what the summer holds, or further what the fall will look like. Therefore it is vital to keep a routine for yourself, and your children as much as possible. If exchanges can happen, they should. Your children should not be made to feel like they have to choose between which parent to see or spend time with.
Speaking to your ex is critical during these times. Both you and your ex need to be on the same page. Hopefully, you are both following the order(s) set by the court, but if they are not possible at the moment, then it is imperative that you communicate effectively as to why they cannot occur. Simply stating that there is a pandemic, and you do not wish to bring the children to the other’s residence, will not be condoned by any court.
Moreover, both parents need to be appraised of the fluidity of the situation. What do the children’s days look like now? Do they have an online school, non-virtual assignments, or a mixture of both? Both parents need to know how each child’s day should look.
In addition, everyone’s schedules are a bit different than they were a few weeks ago. Some parents may not be going in to work, while others may have to work overtime. It is important to communicate with your ex as to what schedule will work under the current circumstances if the old schedule is impossible.
In some cases it may be impractical to keep the same schedule as before the pandemic. Please try to be flexible with your ex as to when pick-ups and drop-offs occur. Perhaps, if your ex is a health care worker, then it might be necessary for the other parent to have a majority of the parenting time during this pandemic, and then give makeup time to the other parent once the pandemic subsides.
This time period should not be an all or nothing time. Remember that this is difficult for everyone, but that it will hopefully pass, and we will be able to go about our normal routines. If one parent cannot have parenting time, then make sure to make time for FaceTime or phone calls with the children.
This time period is not simple for anyone. Please be mindful of that reality, and try not to be hard on yourself or your ex. We hope that the situation will become more bearable, but if you need any help, please feel free to reach out.