During the COVID-19 pandemic you may feel increased stress and worry when managing your parenting matters. It is only natural to feel concerned about the safety of your child or children and how the virus will affect their lives. In today’s blog, we are going to share our top 5 tips for parenting during COVID-19.
1. Meet Your Obligations
It is imperative that parents continue to act in the best interest of the child. This includes your child’s safety and wellbeing. Whilst acting in the child’s best interest, the courts have made it clear that parents and carers are expected to comply with court orders in relation to parenting arrangements. This includes facilitating time being spend by the child with each parent or carer pursuant to your parenting orders.
In the highly unusual circumstances now faced by Australians, there may be situations that arise that make strict compliance with current courts orders very difficult, if not, impossible. This may be caused by changeover locations not being open. For example, if changeover usually occurs at or after school or a sporting event, then you should plan for another suitable neutral public location.
It is important that you communicate with the other parent so that a sensible and reasonable outcome can be reached. If an agreement is reached for new parenting arrangements, even if its short term, this agreement should be in writing such as email, text message or even Whatsapp. This is important if there are later family law hearings and it can also assist the court to understand what agreement may have been reached.
3. Be Compassionate
We are in unprecedented times and there is no manual for how to plan or respond to a pandemic. Use this time to practice compassion and to be kind. This is often easier said than done however it can help reduce the conflict if both parents are making decisions based on the best interests of the children.
4. Focus on Solutions
Each parent should always consider the safety and best interest of their children but also appreciate the concerns of the other parent when discussing revised arrangements. The courts are continuing to perform their duties during this time however their may be times where courts have limited availability.
If you are experiencing difficulties negotiating arrangements you may want to seek the assistance of a family lawyer. A family lawyer can help you reach an agreement or even arrange a mediation with a alternative dispute resolution practitioner. Electronic meditations are available during this time.
5. Stay Healthy
Wash your hands thoroughly and often, this helps stop the spread of COVID-19. It is also important to practice social distancing (keeping a 1.5 meter distance). You should also let the other parent know of the measures that you (and other members of your household) are taking so that they understand you are taking this seriously. During this time it is advisable that you stay home and leave only to do essential tasks as outlined by the Australian government.
Please note that this is general advice only. Should you require legal advice about your family law matter then contact us to arrange a consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers.