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A year like no other for separated parents and their children

It is no secret that this year, 2020, has brought many challenges and changes in routine for a great many people. Between COVID-19-related safety measures, stay-at-home guidelines, job losses and business closures, and for some people, losses related to vandalism due to civil unrest, there have been plenty of bumps in the road that have affected many families. Some of these realities have hit many divorced parents of growing children especially hard.

Struggles that many co-parenting families face

It can be challenging enough to keep smooth family routines going for children who alternate between two parents’ households even in normal times. Some of the disruptions described above have brought out areas of difficulty for many divorced parents who share custody, including:

  • Different levels of vulnerability in the two households where the children spend time (for example, the presence of a cancer patient or elderly family member in one home but not the other)
  • Different policies between the two parents’ households about mask-wearing, social distancing and other “new normal” matters
  • Struggles related to distance learning, child care and related aspects of COVID-related schooling disruptions

When communication and attitudes are strained, it can be difficult to protect children from the effects of discord between their divorced or separated parents.

When legal action becomes necessary

Family law attorneys and other advocates of children of divorce and their parents recommend coping mechanisms such as:

  • Focusing on safety as a high priority
  • Continuing to emphasize strong parent-child relationships
  • Negotiating or mediating over necessary custody and support order modifications

One or both parents may need to seek a modified custody or child support order to account for different work schedules and/or loss of income. When parents stay focused on doing what’s right for their children, families of all types, including those separated by divorce, can adapt, cooperate and protect children’s best interests through every change or decision.