Custody, Shared Custody and the Coronavirus… As Told by Leslie

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Navigating the custody or shared custody amidst the coronavirus can be tricky. Are you prepared for the second wave of lockdowns and quarantines?

The first wave of lockdowns and quarantines led many divorced couples to deal with the unexpected issues arising out of their otherwise successful custody arrangements.

Depending on the custody agreement, the unexpected coronavirus pandemic could have had a significant impact on either arrangement. Perhaps your arrangement is traditional, with one parent having full-time physical custody of the children and the other parent having weekend visitation and a weekly dinner. Or the currently modern alternative shared custody arrangement whereby the children rotate parents’ houses every week or even every four days. For recently divorced couples, maybe this issue may not have had that much of an impact as the now divided household remained mostly the same without any new elements or significant others (including their children) added to the mix.

However, divorced households that have added significant others along with their children creating a blended family may have reached an impasse. Every weekend or every other week, the question arises as to where the children (under a custody arrangement) should reside during the pandemic. Especially if any of the family members, new or old, are immunocompromised, work on the front lines, are essential workers, have elderly grandparents, etc. These are just a few things that need to be considered and adequately addressed. At first glance, this may seem like a simple problem to solve; however, it is anything but. This is especially so if mom and dad cannot agree as to what would be the best scenario and in the best interests of their children.

While the first wave has passed, this would be an excellent time to discuss with your ex, the possibility of a second wave and the viability of your current agreement. Depending on the child’s age, it would be a good idea to include them in the conversation. Mainly, there could be more remote learning in school and one parent, perhaps working – it is where the children will flourish, and everyone will be safe from spreading the virus that is best for all.

Likewise, arrangements will have to be in place for the parent who does not have the children at home during a lockdown/quarantine to spend time with them adequately. This is a time when the love for your children must rise above all, and both parents must be united in their interest in determining what will work best for the family – no matter how it is divided.

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