Co-parenting with an ex during the holidays often leads to hurt feelings. And this year, we're facing the added stress of a pandemic.
Some people choose to wear masks, some don’t. Some people are still celebrating with families and friends. Others are following Dr. Fauci's advice, and only celebrating with people they live with.
Joint custody already forces families to break many traditions to accommodate both parents, but the pandemic is about to break more. Here’s some advice for co-parents on navigating the holiday season.
Review your parenting agreement
- Should your parenting schedule remain the same, especially with the changes in academic calendars?
- Does final decision-making over medical issues allow you to deny parenting time to a parent not social distancing
Talk it out with your co-parent
Share your concerns with your co-parent. If you have concerns about the other parent’s social-distancing practices, communicate your concern clearly and emphatically.
Judges generally don’t approve of parents denying the other parent time with children. Keep the focus of the conversation on your child's health, and not former family members.
If you are having trouble negotiating with your co-parent, you may consider involving a third party, such as a doctor or nurse, who can better explain the risks associated with travel and gatherings during the holidays.
Speak with a family law attorney
If negotiations reach an impasse, consider mediation. A neutral third party, usually a family law attorney, will serve as mediator, and both parents agree that the mediator’s decision is binding. With the holidays quickly approaching, mediation can be a preferable avenue because it can be done quickly.
For example, if the other parent is refusing to allow you to see the children, talk to an attorney before taking any self-help actions.
Some organizations have issued guidance on co-parenting in the pandemic. For example, The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) have issued their own guidelines, encouraging families to be healthy, transparent, and understanding, while remaining compliant with court orders and custody agreements to the extent possible.
Whatever path you choose to take, make sure to prioritize the children’s best interest. Above all, remember that it is possible to have fun and be safe. The silver lining? Perhaps this holiday season will see the start of many new traditions.
LawChamps is here to connect you with an experienced and trusted lawyer who can help you at an affordable rate. This article is intended to convey general information and does not constitute legal advice.
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