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Tips for Co-Parenting During the Holidays With COVID-19 Restrictions

Posted on in Divorce

Warrenville child custody lawyerOur world has changed dramatically over the past year. In an effort to keep the coronavirus from spreading, state and local governments have issued stay-at-home orders and temporarily closed non-essential businesses. As a result, many people have been laid off or furloughed while others may be able to work remotely from home. In addition, the majority of school-age children are e-learning through video apps such as Zoom or Google Meets. For divorced parents, this “new normal” can directly impact their co-parenting arrangements. In Illinois, any couple that is dissolving their marriage must create a parenting plan. This document outlines important child-related information, such as decision-making authority and parenting time schedules. Following health restrictions and guidelines due to COVID-19 can make adhering to parenting plans trickier, especially with the holidays approaching. Below are a few tips for cooperative parenting during this unprecedented time. 

Illinois Parenting Plans

In some divorce cases, both spouses are able to reach mutual decisions regarding their children such as the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation). If a couple cannot agree on matters, then they will have to go to court and a judge will make these decisions for them. 

An Illinois parenting plan must address the following issues: 

  • Where the children will reside the majority of the time

  • The amount of time the children spend with each parent

  • How each parent received essential information about his or her children

  • The way the children will be transported between households

Adapting to a New Normal

Learning how to co-parent during a crisis may seem daunting, but with a willingness to compromise and be flexible, everyone involved can more easily manage this turbulent time. According to Illinois divorce law, transporting children between homes is considered “essential travel.” However, all involved parties’ best interests should be considered as well. Here is some helpful advice for co-parenting while adhering to social distancing recommendations over the holidays:

  • Communication is key. Being open and honest with your children’s other parent can go a long way in keeping the peace. While COVID-19 is still around, make sure to reveal any important information about possible exposures to your ex-spouse in case any of you need to quarantine. For example, if a child tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to someone who is sick with the virus, he or she may have to stay at one parent’s home for 10-14 days. This can disrupt an original parenting time order. However, for everyone’s health and safety, both parents need to be understanding when plans change. Similarly, if you have symptoms or test positive yourself, alert your co-parent immediately. 

  • Set boundaries. Both parents should be on the same page when it comes to what activities their children can participate in and who they can see. Managing younger children might be slightly easier, although helping them with online schooling and entertaining them during a cold winter can be challenging. Teenagers no doubt want to be with their friends, but now is not the time for big get-togethers inside. Reiterate with your co-parent the rules at each house and try to enforce similar disciplining styles.  

  • Safety comes first. Health officials are still urging the wearing of face masks, frequent washing of hands, and social distancing to protect against contracting the virus. Parents should set good examples of behavior for their kids, such as following the health guidelines. These safety measures may also include when kids are transported between each parent’s home. For added protection, one parent could provide all of the transportation to maintain a feeling of security, safety, and consistency.

The holidays can already be a difficult time for many divorced families, and a national health crisis only exacerbates this scenario. That is why it is important to always think of your children first. As co-parents, you and your ex should work together to create a healthy co-parenting relationship for the sake of your kids. Making an effort to be amicable can help ensure the creation of happy holiday memories despite the circumstances.

Contact a Warrenville Divorce Lawyer

Co-parenting after divorce no doubt has its challenges. When you are under restrictions due to a global pandemic, navigating this situation can become even more complicated. At The Law Office of Christina Martell, we dedicate our practice to resolving issues that families may face during and after the divorce process. Our compassionate and knowledgeable DuPage County parenting time attorney will competently and fairly represent your best interests during negotiations. If you need help creating a parenting plan or reaching a resolution with your ex-spouse, call us today at 630-717-2772 to learn more and schedule a confidential case evaluation. We offer consultations for $100, which is credited toward your bill moving forward upon hiring our firm. 



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