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Separated Parents and COVID

Article written and published by Annette T. Burns.

Parents: This is a truly difficult time. Talk about making being separated from your other parent more difficult!

Please follow guidelines for co-parenting as closely as possible during these difficult times.

Your Parenting Plan Should Be Followed

Do not take advantage of general chaos in the world to withhold parenting time. You may think “The courts are overcrowded and won’t have time to deal with me now, if I do this.” You may be right, but I’ll hazard a guess and say that in a few months, when the courts are confronted with cases of children being withheld during this crisis, the sanctions will be harsh, Court-ordered parenting time must be followed and permitted.

If You Don't Agree With How Your Other Parent Is Handing Things

You may feel the other parent is allowing the child too much access to other people and children and not following Social Distancing guidelines. If the two of you have joint legal decision-making rights under your Parenting Plan, each of you must use your own good judgment about what to do when you have the child. At this point, the government hasn’t issued orders for isolation, and you can’t force isolating guidelines on the other parent if he or she doesn’t agree. You can try to talk to him or her about your concerns, but you can’t force your guidelines on the other parent’s household unless he or she is violating the law.

If Your Exchange Time With The Other Parent Is Done Through School and School is Cancelled

If your child isn’t attending school and it’s an exchange day, you need to COMMUNICATE with the other parent and find an exchange time. If no other time is specified in writing anywhere, use a 2:30 or 3pm exchange time (the approximate time school would have been out). If you can’t exchange the child at someone’s home, find a public place as close to the child’s school as possible to make the exchange. You can exchange in the parking lot of a Target, McDonald’s, or some other large public area where you don’t need to be near a lot of people. Park close enough for the child to walk safely from one parent to the other.

If Your Child Is Sick

If your child is sick with something “regular” (non-critical), the child should be exchanged at regular parenting times unless your Plan states that a sick child stays with one parent. COMMUNICATE with the other parent. If the parents can agree to delay an exchange, that’s fine. But if the parents don’t agree, the child needs to be exchanged.

COMMUNICATE everything about your child’s illness to the other parent, in writing. Try to stick to email. Start one email string with all information about the child’s symptoms, what medication is given when, and how often. Keeping all this information in one place will let you both care for your child. Visits to doctors or urgent care should be communicated IMMEDIATELY to the other parent, including all information, symptoms, diagnoses, and medications. Tell the other parent where you filled the prescriptions. SHARE the child’s prescriptions, and if the other parent asks, share the over-the-counter medications too. It’s not that easy to pick up another package of Day-Quil these days.

Read the full article: Separated Parents and CoVID


Michael L. Gjesdahl

Mike founded Gjesdahl Law, P.C. in 1989. His practice is exclusively devoted to families, their transitions, their needs. Throughout his career, he has confronted every imagin…
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