It is difficult for separated parents to navigate through co-parenting at the best of times, however the outbreak of the COVID19 Pandemic creates further stress for parents. The Family Law Section of the Law Council have released their 'Top Ten Guide for Separated Parents during Covid19', and we have summarised the key points below:
- Stay healthy - Model best practice habits for kids, family and friends.
- Be present and considered - Children will have heard much through their schools, networks and media, and are not necessarily able to accurately process all of this information in a way that allows for peace of mind.
- Meeting your obligations - If your parenting matters are regulated by court order or agreement, you must still meet your obligations under those terms unless a reasonable excuse applies. If arrangements become unclear or cannot be met (e.g.: quarantine, travel restrictions or because schools close) use common sense to find solutions to challenges.
- Adapt - If schools are closed and changeover normally occurred after and at school or sporting events, nominate or start planning for another neutral and public location that will be suitable.
- Be open - Try to be on the same page with the other parent about the things you will each do in your respective households to limit exposure to the virus and to shield the children.
- Be mutual - Think about how you would like the other parent to engage with you about these issues, and model that engagement.
- Be compassionate - Being calm in times of high stress is hard – but you are more likely to reduce the conflict if both are making the best effort possible.
- Be solution focussed - Courts will increasingly have limited availability; dispute resolution services may be hard to access and common sense coupled with respectful engagement may be the surest path. It’s an opportunity to find new ways to solve old problems.
- Help out to the extent you can - People may lose jobs or experience a reduction in their income. This may impact what can be paid by way of child support or the contribution to other expenses. Try to be understanding of the situation the other parent is in – financial worry will probably exist in both households.
- Be patient and positive - This situation is not going to resolve overnight. Make a conscious effort to embrace the good and joyful moments in each day, stay connected by phone or social media to friends or family who can support you and remember that you are the beacon for your children at this time.
If you have any questions on how to co-parent during this tough time, don't hesitate to reach out to our team on 1800 650 656. We're here to help you and your family.
Lauren Ryan | Solicitor