Holiday Survival Guide: Co-Parenting During COVID-19
Considering divorce and sharing custody with your ex-spouse can be stressful enough during the holiday season even when we are not in the middle of a worldwide pandemic. Learn how our attorneys at The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter can help keep your holiday season merry and bright.
Deciding to Divorce During the Pandemic
As Pennsylvania continues to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic, many who have been forced to take shelter at home may question their relationship with their spouse. The pandemic has caused a surge in the number of new divorce cases across the United States, including here in central Pennsylvania, with experts fearing an even more significant increase as we head into the holiday season.
Navigating Your Divorce: Where to Start
First, we recommend one to talk through your feelings with your spouse whenever possible. If it feels as though your marriage simply isn't working, and you cannot continue this way, hopefully sitting down and talking through your thoughts with your spouse may bring the relief you are seeking. Whether the divorce will be amicable or contentious we can help you through this trying time. However, in more complex cases, hiring an attorney to help mediate between you and your spouse may be your best option.
If you have decided to divorce whether discussed divorce in the past or not, talk about the expectations you'll have of each other once your divorce is finalized, including child support, child custody, and asset division can help settle your case, minimize your legal fees, and avoid a legal battle in court.
How to Handle the Holiday Season
If you have a safe place to stay during the pandemic and/or are living separately, it may be best to spend the holiday season apart. This will allow each spouse to make new traditions and celebrate the holidays without any feelings of stress and fear which is common with divorce proceedings.
However — this holiday season is more complicated than ever before in American history. To help you through, here are some tips to safely survive the holiday season in light of your pending divorce and the COVID-19 pandemic:
Concerns About Your Child’s Safety
We are seeing record numbers of concerned clients telling us their concerns regarding their children’s safety when they are not with them during the holiday season. Parents can disagree with the level of precautions necessary to keep their little ones protected when visiting loved ones.
If you find yourself in this situation, the best option is to put your concerns in writing to the other parent. If the message is civil, direct, and voices your concerns in a loving way towards the child, we have been amazed to see most situations worked out without lawyer negotiations and racking up legal fees.
If this does not solve your problem, it is best to contact our office and consider legal action to prevent letting a child be exposed to the virus over the holidays. This is especially true for people who have an at-risk loved one living in their households, or who are the primary caretaker of a family member. Contacting our office is the best course of action in this case.
Plan Your Holiday Visitation Schedule
Make it a point to schedule your visitation ahead of time. Doing this can help you factor in any adjustments you need to make in your daily routine — especially due to the pandemic. This includes the following details:
- Quarantining and social distancing measures in your region.
- Your child’s school and extracurricular activities schedule.
- Religious practices of each parent and their family.
- The time needed for travel if necessary.
- The length of the visitation.
Ask Your Children About Your Traditions
Whether you are in a two household family considering a life change, or the current health crisis has changed how we celebrate the holidays this year, and some of your traditions may need to be altered. Whether this is for safety or to avoid a legal issue related to your custody agreement.
Speak to your children about what traditions they value the most and the ones that they wouldn't mind skipping or changing. Balance the need to create fond memories and to ensure their safety. This will make them feel important and involved in your holiday plans and open the way for some new memories.
Be Flexible With Dates
It’s no secret that the pandemic has left our lives turned upside down on any day during the holiday season, making managing co-parenting even more difficult. Remember that holiday celebrations don’t always have to occur according to the calendar. If your ex has your children for the holidays, you can still make the days before and after those dates just as special.
Your kids will be happier to be able to spend this time with both of their parents, even if that means enjoying separate festivities, as long as no holiday traditions are missed because of a lack of co-parenting. Who doesn’t love more holiday cheer — especially this year?
Don’t Focus on Gift Giving
Arranging gift-giving during the holidays can create anxiety no matter your relationship with your spouse or ex. With stores placing capacity limits and having COVID-19 restrictions, it may be harder than ever this year to get the gifts you want for your children.
You should discuss what gift-giving will look like for the new arrangement with your ex or your spouse so you can coordinate what gifts each of you will be giving. Should one parent secure that must-have present on your child’s wish list it’s important that the child be able to enjoy the gift no matter who has physical custody.
Harrisburg Divorce Consultations
Whether it is a simple and amicable divorce or one you are sure will be contentious, navigating the legal process can be easy.
At The Law Office of Jason R. Carpenter, we understand how difficult it is for people facing the end of their marriage. Having a skilled family law attorney on your side during this difficult time can make the process easier.
Whether you’re in Harrisburg, York, Lancaster, Cumberland, or any other Central Pennsylvania county, we are dedicated to offering the best service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.To book your consultation, contact our office at (717) 537-0928 or visit us online.