Co-parenting during Covid-19
Co-parenting can be a challenge at the best of times but during the current crisis parents may find this increasingly difficult.
Good parental communication is the foundation of all successful co-parenting relationships together with a genuine desire to put the children at the front and centre of the whole situation. This can be very hard where there is lack of trust and perhaps previous acrimony between the adults involved.
What is certain, is that any lack of agreement between parents will impact on the children involved and maybe not in the ways that you may necessarily think. Most children don't want their parents to argue, no matter what it is about. Often a child, no matter how old they are, will tell each parent what they think that parent needs to hear so that they do not get upset. An ability to see things from the other parent's perspective and from the perspective of the child(ren) is often key. Sometimes, it may seem that giving the child a choice is the right thing to do. However, it can be too much pressure for them to try to tell their parent what they really think.
What must be avoided is trying to use the current situation to score some points at the cost of the other parent. Sadly, we family lawyers at Band Hatton Button LLP have already seen situations where one parent has interfered negatively with the other parents contact or time with the children and taken unilateral decisions about what arrangements there should be. Unfortunately, because the family court system is in some disarray because of the situation also, it can mean that there is very little that can be done about this now.
This sort of behaviour is unlikely to go unnoticed in the future though. As mentioned earlier, it will probably impact negatively on the children in multiple ways and if that is the case, everyone is the loser. Whilst hurt may be caused to the other parent, you can guarantee the children will come off worse as not only may they miss the other parent, the extra uncertainty and upset at this time will just add further pressure and worry to them too.
If there is a court order in place and indeed, ongoing proceedings, the court is likely to take a dim view of a parent who does not act reasonably and so think carefully about what actions you are taking. Are they really what's best for the children or is it more about what's best and/or easiest for you?
If you're not sure, it's worth taking independent advice about these issues and getting an objective view. If it's hard to communicate and you may need to consider alternative arrangements at this time, it's still possible to mediate and this is often quicker and more cost effective than communicating through opposing lawyers or with each other if you disagree.
At Band Hatton Button LLP we have highly experienced family lawyers able to work through the crisis with you and an experienced, accredited mediator who can help with Family Mediation including Child inclusive mediation where appropriate.