How to Share Custody During the Pandemic
As of late April 2021, British Columbia still has strict COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in place. For regular families, it's already hard enough to carry out everyday activities, but for divorced parents who share custody, it can be even more difficult to split time evenly.
Times are already stressful, and neither you nor your ex needs the added burden of worrying about seeing your child. To make things easier on both of you, here are some steps you can take to share custody during the coronavirus pandemic.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Even in normal times, communication is of the utmost importance when it comes to co-parenting. Your number one priority should be keeping your child safe and happy, which means minimizing disruptions as much as possible.
If one parent thinks they've been exposed to the coronavirus, they should communicate this immediately. The other parent should respond with flexibility, such as offering to swap certain days or weeks of Parenting Time, so everyone stays safe and healthy.
Have an Agreement on What's Acceptable
The two of you might have different ideas on what's acceptable as far as activities go during the pandemic. In the best-case scenario, you'll agree that group activities are out of the question and that you'll shelter at home as much as possible.
If you need to make some compromises (such as your ex wanting to take your child to a small birthday party), make sure the terms are clear and that it's a one-time deal. If they want to go outside of the agreement again, they must communicate with you and you must fully agree for it to happen.
Restrict Travel on Both Sides
At the time of writing, the BC Centre for Disease Control highly recommends that you stay within your local health authority and only travel for essential reasons.
While there are laws in place, your ex might try and find loopholes. Both of you should be on the same page about essential travel and only go places with your child if it is absolutely necessary. The only travel should be between homes, school activities, grocery trips, etc.
If a parent must travel, then the other parent should accommodate the quarantine period upon return by agreeing to swap weeks of parenting time. This should then be made up later should the other parent need to quarantine also.
Share Custody More Easily in These Difficult Times
If you need to share custody of your child during these difficult times, we hope that things are made easier with our above advice. In the best-case scenario, you'll be able to work things out without needing a third party. But if things get challenging and uncivil, it might be a good idea to look up the current rules at Family Cases | Provincial Court of British Columbia and if you still have questions, then speak with a lawyer specializing in family and divorce law, such as Dick Byl Law.
If you need further help with Parenting Time, please don't hesitate to contact our law office. We offer free 30-minute initial consultations.