Coronavirus and Co-parenting
4 tips for separated parents
Be on top of school news
Many schools have already closed their doors due to scares about the spread of coronavirus. It is likely that schools will continue to close and/or stay closed. Make sure you are on your school contact list so that you are being kept informed about any updates. This may mean access to an app or having your email listed as a contact. Both parents should have access to this information and ensure you are aware of what’s happening at your children’s school.
Manage your children’s anxieties
There is a lot of speculation and hysteria surrounding the coronavirus. There is certainly a lack of knowledge about the virus generally. On one side of the spectrum we are seeing people diminish the virus to a flu and saying there’s no need to worry. On the other hand we are seeing panic and bulk buying of toilet paper. If adults are confused you can bet that children are too. This is causing them anxiety. Children can sense your stress and react in many different ways. We suggest that you teach your children to take necessary precautions without stressing them out.
Create a backup plan
With schools closing their doors, parents are going to be required to make alternate care arrangements for the children. If you are separated, logistics can be even more important. Parenting plans and Orders will often revolve around changeover being before and after school. Discuss with the other parent and try to come to agreement in relation to the changeover time while school is closed. You may consider reverting to the times stipulated in your parenting plan or Orders for holidays. Be prepared for this so that you are not scrambling and trying to make decisions last minute.
Joint decision making about health
It is an unfortunate truth that children are also susceptible to coronavirus. Parents will be faced with difficult decisions required to keep their children as safe as possible. It is important to remember that there is a presumption of equal shared parental responsibility when it comes to separated parents. This means unless you have a court order for sole parental responsibility, you and your ex are required to make decisions jointly about the long term care, welfare and development of your children. This means decisions relating to any medical treatment. Obviously your child’s safety is the most important thing. Unless it is an emergency, be mindful that you should avoid making decisions about your child’s health without consulting the other parent.
You may also find this article useful: Apps for separated parents
If you would like any further information or assistance with your family’s situation, please contact our Family Law team on 9523 5535.