Co-parenting and creating a parenting plan in the best of times can be challenging enough, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life so drastically for so many that some co-parents have had to revise or reassess their parenting plans. Some co-parents have found themselves facing brutal disagreement about everything from social distancing to school, and others who are going through a divorce are facing more complex parenting plan questions than ever before. Ballard Law, PLLC is a family law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that can help you if you need to reassess your parenting plan, renegotiate a parenting plan, or help you if you are in the process of getting divorced and need assistance with child custody matters. In the era of COVID-19 what are the most divisive and challenging issues parents are facing? Let’s take a closer look:
- Disagreements about social distancing and social interaction. Mississippi has called for employees in public-facing businesses to wear a mask and for customers to wear masks when doing business or shopping. Gatherings fewer than 10 people (if the gathering is indoors) and gatherings fewer than 20 people (if the gathering is outdoors) are permitted. Even so many people disagree about what’s okay and what’s too risky at this time. Some parents are okay with children having a small play date while others are worried about the spread of COVID-19 and think children should keep play dates remote. If you disagree with your partner about some of these issues, this could create tension, disputes, and even lead some parents to ask to renegotiate the parenting plan. At the end of the day, everyone should follow local guidance when it comes to social distancing and observing local laws, and if one parent isn’t doing this, he or she could be putting the child at risk.
- Changed visitation. With parents working from home, and with children out of school, many parents are renegotiating visitation schedules. With the higher caseloads appearing across the country, travel can be tough, resulting in changed plans for families where parents live in different states. Other parents may find that they have greater flexibility to be with their children and want their parenting plans to reflect this.
- WLBT reported on Jackson Public Schools’ plan to re-open in the fall. Parents of elementary and middle schoolers can choose between in-person or virtual learning and high schoolers can choose between a virtual learning plan or half-time in-person education plan. Some parents are concerned about their children becoming sick by returning to school, or their children becoming sick and spreading the illness to at risk family members. If you and your former spouse disagree about education in the fall, a revisiting of your parenting plan might be in order, or you may need the assistance of a family lawyer to help you negotiate what might be in the best interests of your children.
- Considering the best interests of your children. COVID-19 has changed life for many of us. If you are planning remote learning in the fall, co-parents might be considering many factors when working out custody and visitation plans. For example, if one parent has reliable internet access, the children might stay with this parent during the school week. In other cases, one parent works in a high-risk field like healthcare and so the children spend most of their time with the parent who works from home or who works in a lower risk field. These are personal decisions that ultimately each family will need to make, but during this time of pandemic many families are renegotiating their parenting plans to consider their children’s needs. Fortunately, many families have been able to resolve their issues on their own. In some cases, families need to take their parenting plans back to court for modification.
- What if you’re living together during the pandemic? Couples who had planned to get divorced before the pandemic struck, who now find themselves still sharing the same home also face unique challenges. Changes in financial circumstances and quarantine requirements have required that many divorcing couples continue to shelter in place together. What can you do if you find yourself in this situation? NYU Langone, recommended that couples who are divorcing but still living together with their children take the time to review each person’s responsibility in the home to reduce disputes. Finding way to give each person his or her space can also help. Finally, NYU Langone recommends that parents try not to fight in front of the children.
Are you going through a divorce and need help with your child custody plans or visitation plans? Are you divorced already, but are facing increased disagreements with your partner and need to revisit your parenting plan? Ballard Law, PLLC is a divorce law firm in Jackson, Mississippi that may be able to help you. Our family law attorneys can review your situation, help you understand your rights, and assist you with drafting a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. Reach out to Ballard Law today or connect with USAttorneys.com to learn more about how Ballard Law, PLLC can help you.