Hi there and thanks for joining the family law attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm for this discussion continuing on how to co-parent successfully during the Coronavirus quarantine. As we mentioned in the previous article, this is a really challenging time for everyone. Parents have a lot of their plates right now while they work to manage the demands of family, homeschooling, job commitments, and domestic duties. But for parents who co-parent, there are all kinds of extra challenges to be considered. Last time we looked at what parents deal with when they’re trying to co-parent while simultaneously caring for at-risk loved ones. Today we’d like to look at the challenges of co-parenting when you’re at risk yourself.
Co-parenting when you’re sick or at risk yourself
Parents who are essential workers, like doctors, nurses, police officers, and grocery store workers, come into contact with the public every day. They are at greater risk of becoming infected with Covid19. This means that in having contact with their kids they put them at risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. So the only way to avoid that is to only have remote contact with them through virtual or online apps and other forms of indirect communication, like texting and phone calls. But what do you do if you have a joint custody agreement or a shared parenting schedule? How do you manage that risk, if you (or maybe your ex) could put your kids at risk by spending time with them? Lawyers in our main office in Lansing are dealing with that nearly every day lately.
How do you parent from a safe distance to keep your kids (and ex) safe as well?
This is a very difficult situation for parents. If you are at risk because you work on the frontlines, or are immunocompromised (or worse – you’re already sick!) The best thing you can do is keep your distance so as to not risk contracting Coronavirus. That may be challenging if you have primary custody of your children, or your ex relies on you to provide relief for them through parenting time visits. If this is your situation, discuss your concerns with your ex. Let them know that you are afraid of making them and your kids sick. Or, if the person at risk is you, explain your fears and the medical reasons why you have to take extra precautions to protect your health. If your ex won’t work with you on this, consider other options, like asking a loved one to step in temporarily to help with your kids, and discussing your options with an experienced family law attorney. Our lawyers are always ready and available to help even during the pandemic emergency. We are doing virtual consultations every day.
Be sure to talk to your attorney before making ANY custody or parenting time decisions
While we understand the difficult situation this puts you in, make sure you talk to your family law attorney before making any decisions about restricting parenting time, or trying to make changes to your custody agreement! You and the other parent may have very different ideas about how isolation works, and they might not be as rigorous as you’d like (especially if you or someone you’re caring for is considered to be high risk). But refusing to allow your ex to see your kids, or denying them the parenting time the court has ordered for them could end up backfiring on you and costing you your own kid time in the future! Our Michigan Supreme Court has reiterated that all parenting time orders must be obeyed during this Coronavirus emergency, unless both parents agree otherwise or until your court changes the order.
The Kronzek Firm’s family law attorneys can help you with all of this and more.
Custody and parenting time can be very tricky subjects to navigate for parents. And when you consider the times we live in, and the unprecedented challenges we are facing all over the world right now, it’s no surprise that so many mid-Michigan families are struggling with this problem right now. But you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) try to tackle it alone. Call The Kronzek Firm at 517 886-1000 right now to get helpful legal advice from our knowledgeable and hard-working family law attorneys. Whether you live in Lansing, Holt, Dewitt, Haslett or Charlotte or St. Johns, we can help you figure out your custody concerns.