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Legally Speaking: COVID-19 pandemic rough on recently divorced parents

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COVID-19 has created a society and environment full of questions and uncertainty.

The vast majority of Americans have never experienced anything like this and it is almost certain that Americans with minor children have not.

If you are a parent who recently has gone through a divorce, or are currently going through one, the uncertainty can be confusing and overwhelming.

Here are some points to think about that might bring you some peace, certainty and answer some of your questions.

First, communication with the other parent is essential. Communication, not arguing, is the key word.

Be willing to communicate your uncertainties and concerns, the other parent cannot read your mind.

In that communication be authentic and don’t worry about pride or ego; you are, after all, discussing the most important person(s) in the world, your child(ren).

Second, you must follow the parenting plan. Whether the plan is temporary or final, it is an order of the court and COVID-19 does not override it.

Your concerns and fears are likely not reasons the court will accept if you choose to defy the parenting plan.

I understand the level of self-control this could take is high, so remember, communication and reason are your best friends.

Third, family courts are still operating, they have not closed. It is up to the individual judges to decide whether to require the parties in person or conduct the proceedings on the phone.

Make sure you keep all your court dates and communicate with your attorney or, if you don’t have an attorney, with the court.

#LegallySpeaking, this will pass. Our lives will get back to normal. It may be a new normal but we will learn how to deal with it.

You, as a parent, will learn how to cope and make it through this. See this as an opportunity to model good behavior for the kiddos.

The procedures in divorce and separation have not changed in light of COVID-19, you can take certainty in that.

In addition, communicating with the other parent in a calm, reasonable and authenticate way (no matter how difficult it may be) hasn’t changed either.

If you have any questions I encourage you to reach out to your attorney or you can review the resources available on the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts website.

Hang in there, wash your hands and be calm!

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