Co-parenting after a divorce can be tricky at the best of times – and these are not the best of times. Now that Ontario schools have closed and many families are quarantined due to international travel, there’s a new, unprecedented complication added to any co-parenting situation. Here are some tips to make it easier on you, your ex, and your kids.
1. Be Flexible
With schools closed and social distancing guidelines in place, everyone’s day-to-day routine has suddenly become much more complicated. Working from home, if your career allows for that, is very difficult when you have kids to take care of. Now is the time for you and your ex to have a conversation about how to handle work and childcare. You may want to temporarily adjust your custody arrangement to allow each other to get work done. You also might want to agree to relax some of the rules around things like TV and video games to keep the kids occupied while you’re trying to do your job. If one of you is working from home but the other still needs to go in to the workplace, you can trade off childcare duties so that both of you can continue to work.
2. Be Considerate
Even if the two of you don’t have the most amicable relationship, now is the time to be considerate of each other’s needs. Remember that your top priority is keeping your children healthy and safe! If one of you ends up keeping the kids for longer than your typical arrangement allows for, try to keep track of the time and make it up later on with the other parent. Additionally, you should come to an agreement regarding social contact. Make sure you’re both on the same page about things like play dates, park visits, and other activities. This is especially important if any of you have traveled outside the country recently and are under quarantine. If this is the case, you may even need to arrange for a third party to take care of pickup and dropoff.
3. Be Prepared
Even with careful precautions, the possibility exists that someone in your family may contract COVID-19. Keep up with careful handwashing and social distancing, and make sure both of you know where you children’s OHIP cards are, as well as contact information for their doctor. If you suspect that someone in your family has come down with COVID-19, complete this self-assessment, then call Telehealth at 1-866-797-0000 if it indicates that you may have the virus. Most importantly, stay calm! Panicking won’t help anything, and will only make the situation more difficult for all of you.
Questions? Contact Galbraith Family Law
If your custody arrangement has suddenly gotten more difficult and you need some legal advice, contact Galbraith Family Law. This situation is new to all of us, but custody issues are not! We will be glad to advise you on how best to adapt your arrangement during the COVID-19 outbreak. You can send a message through our website or give us a call. In Newmarket, our phone number is (289) 802-2433; in Barrie, call (705) 302-1102.