Co-Parenting in The Age of Covid-19

child holding fathers hand

Under normal circumstances, parents of school age children would be planning for the upcoming school term. The decisions that would need to be made would traditionally be school supplies, school clothes, uniforms, and perhaps after school care. The decisions that parents now need to make are obviously of much greater importance as they wrestle with the safety of traditional schooling. It seems that every other day a different plan is put forth. The anticipated school term affects not only plans for the children, but also planning for the parents. Some parents have been able to continue working from home, but not all parents have that ability. It presents a major issue that each family needs to resolve within their individual household. What if the parents are divorced and not part of the same household? How will these same decisions be made by two parents who sometimes cannot agree on much simpler issues? Who gets the final word in this situation? 

Most divorced parents are required to co-parent. This means that decisions concerning major issues are to be made by both parents working together for the best interests of the children. In most instances, neither parent gets the final say in these issues. Shared Parental responsibility requires joint decision making. In some cases, the Parenting Plan will allow one of the parents to have ultimate decision making on issues concerning education and/or medical care. This provision is not the norm, but rather the exception. So how do two parents who may not get along resolve crucial issues concerning their children? 

The concept of co-parenting suggests that even though the parents are no longer together, their love and concern for the children should not be affected. Not every happily married couple see “eye to eye” on every issue. However, they try to resolve it by negotiation and finally coming to a conclusion they both can live with. This concept should apply to divorced parents as well. 

Obviously, this ability to compromise is not always possible. There are other possible alternatives, but each require the assistance of a third party. The parents could go to counseling to “talk it out”. There are several co-parenting classes that the parties can either voluntarily attend or they may be required to attend by Court order. In some cases, a Parenting Coordinator or a Guardian Ad Litem might be involved. Of course, the last resort would be to file a motion and ask the Judge to decide where and how a child should attend school this Fall. I will tell you that Judges would much rather have the parents make this decision.

I suggest that at a time like this you both focus on what is the best solution for the children and put any hostility to the side. This is a difficult time for everyone and if a child sees parents working together their stress level will be significantly lowered. 

The law firm of Evan H. Baron and Associates is located at 1655 North Commerce Parkway, Suite 201, in Weston. If you have any questions concerning this issue or any other family law matter, call the office at 954-385-9160.