The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many families into uncertainty. This is especially true for families of divorce, who face co-parenting challenges and difficult daily decisions even when everything is normal.
With new rules in place globally, it’s essential that you follow the rules set by federal government and local officials in order to keep your family safe and provide stability. Here we will explain some guidelines that will help.
How COVID-19 Changes Mimic Separation Transitions for Children of Divorce
Divorce often causes children to be thrown into instability, as parents move into different homes and normal activities, like school extracurriculars, time with friends, and daily home schedules, change. Though the overall goal is always to keep the child’s life as normal as possible during and after a divorce, there are always inevitable changes.
The pandemic magnifies these changes. Students no longer are attending school each day, likely won’t see friends or extended family in person due to the stay-at-home-orders, and may experience financial changes due to a parent’s employment circumstances. Things may really change for children if a parent or relative is self-quarantined with a positive COVID-19 result.
These changes affect children no matter their age. Younger children may struggle to fully understand what is happening, children of pre-teen years may feel frustration or express anger at the changes, and teens may act out. This is similar to the changes that children experience based on age during the process of divorce.
Providing your child with opportunities to discuss their feelings and understand the current global situation will help your family get through this unexpected transition.
Co-Parenting During COVID-19: The Guidelines
Co-parenting is a delicate dance to navigate on its own. A pandemic makes the situation even more difficult, as many parents undoubtedly have questions and concerns amidst the governmental changes that have been put in place. If this is you, please know that you are not alone. A legal workgroup in Pima has put together guidelines for families concerning parenting time to address your concerns, which you will find throughout this infographic. Here’s what you as a co-parent in Arizona need to know regarding parenting time during the pandemic.
COVID-19 Testing in Arizona
In Arizona, testing is still not widely available for COVID-19, therefore it can be difficult to know if you or someone in your household has contracted the virus. In the state, many symptoms and cases have been identified, but testing is still being prioritized to an essential few key groups, according to the Arizona Department of Health Service’s Director, including high-risk essential workers, the immunocompromised, and those who have recently traveled. There is also a shortage of testing kits in the state, further complicating the problem.
Despite uncertainty around testing availability, If someone in your house shows serious symptoms, they should self-quarantine at home for 14 days, along with anyone else in the household. This brings up concerns regarding how that affects co-parenting if your child or former spouse tests positive, but there is protocol that should be followed. Despite court ordered mandates, this is a situation where parenting time schedules are put on hold temporarily. If your spouse or child tests positive for COVID-19, here’s what you should know.
The Pitfalls of Assumption
With a pandemic changing many aspects of daily life, most parents have questions about how to operate. They may be especially wary of finding themselves accidentally in contempt of court due to this confusion. When in doubt, it’s important to follow your parenting plan. In the event that you have a question or are uncertain about how to work out a certain aspect of your parenting plan, it’s best to consult your lawyer. In certain emergency circumstances, the court may be able to assist you.
Contempt of court in custody cases, even if by accident, is no small matter. The fines for being found in contempt are high based on the circumstances, as you could be fined, possibly lose custody or visitation rights, or in extreme cases, be sent to jail.
Though times are uncertain right now, it’s not worth it to assume anything about what your rights are regarding parenting time outside of what is stated in your parenting time schedule and court mandated allowances without confirmation. Here’s what you shouldn’t do or assume and should do about parenting time during the pandemic.
While co-parenting can be rocky during this upheaval, it’s important to cherish the extra time you have with your child. Through this pandemic, it’s also important to remember that we will get through this as a state, and as a society. If you have further questions regarding parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemic, call us at 480-745-2450 or contact Simon Law online. We can help you and your family feel at peace during this uncertain time and guide you through your questions.
To view the entire infographic, click the image below.