New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s stay-at-home order mandating residents to stay put inside their homes to stop the spread of the coronavirus is in full effect. But what does this mean for divorced parents with child custody agreements?
Does that mean the kids don’t get their weekends with your ex? Does that mean they have to stay put until the executive order is lifted?
Communicate with your ex
Visiting family is still allowed under the order to stay-at-home. But it’s a good idea to keep your lines of communication open with your ex, especially during an anxious time like this.
Putting the kids first
The health of your family is obviously your top priority. With that in mind, here are a few tips for discussing child custody scheduling changes relating to the pandemic:
- Try to be cooperative: The schedule isn’t changing to take time away with your kids. The focus is keeping your kids safe, and that might mean minimal changes in their environment. It also might mean one parent has less time with their kids than spelled out in the custody agreement until the threat of catching the virus has passed.
- Reducing stress: Discuss what is best for the kids with your ex. Will they benefit from keeping the schedule as is, or do you need to tweak it to reduce their risk of getting the coronavirus and minimize anxiety and stress?
- Make a plan: Consider talking to your ex about the possibility of shifting the custody agreement as needed if one of you gets sick.
Whatever game plan you and your ex agree upon, it makes sense to consider using other communication channels during this crisis. Facetime video chats, Skype calls, and texting with their mom or dad may help to maintain a sense of connection.