Sometimes, co-parents are not able to follow a strict parenting time schedule because life gets in the way. A prime example was the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was incredibly disruptive in many ways, including for those trying to co-parent. But such curveballs are not limited to a once-in-a-century pandemic.
If you find yourself in a situation where strict adherence to a certain schedule just won’t work, Rigden Law has some tips for getting through it. Read on to learn more and contact us.
Accept That You Will Have to Be Flexible
Just as we were all forced to accept a variety of quick, unexpected changes as a result of COVID-19, the same goes for co-parenting. Life happens, so if you or your child gets sick, you experience the death of a loved one, you lose your job—the list goes on—try your best to approach the situation with civility, understanding, and reasonableness. For example, if your child has a stomach virus, it may not be the best idea to strictly follow a certain parenting time schedule and risk infecting another household. Or, maybe your child feels most comfortable in his or her primary residence. The more modifications parties can agree upon informally with an eye toward the children’s best interests, the better.
You Will Have to Interact With Your Ex
In times of change and uncertainty, or even just run of the mill calendar issues, your parenting time schedule may have to change a bit. If, for example, schools are closed but work is not, you might need your ex to help during part of your parenting time, so you can attend a big meeting. Or, parenting time exchanges that usually take place at school may need to take place at each other’s homes.
Try to be as civil as possible with your ex—you have a lifetime of being your child’s parents.
Get Used to Third Parties Helping Out:
Step-parents and significant others can be a source of friction for co-parents. But, when life happens, third parties may take on an even bigger role. In New Jersey, there is very little that can be done, as a general rule, to prevent a step-parent or significant other from being around a child (absent exceptional circumstances).
So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. You never know—you just might appreciate the help.