In a matter of days, the spread of COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus) changed the landscape of America as we know it. Multiple states, including New Jersey, have issued shelter-in-place mandates, meaning all residents are to stay at home and can only go out for essential errands, such as grocery shopping or picking up medicine. Millions of Americans are working from home, and thousands of others have suddenly lost their jobs due to restaurants, bars, and salons closing.
And yet, despite all of this upheaval and uncertainty, life still goes on. If you are in the middle of a divorce, or you are already divorced, and you share child custody with your former partner, you are probably trying to figure out how to navigate these strange, new waters. Here are a few tips to help you manage.
Now more than ever, it is time to set aside whatever differences you may have with your former partner and communicate with them. Even if the two of you have different opinions on what is happening right now, you need to talk about what is in the best interests of your children. Having a video conference either through FaceTime or Zoom, where you both can look each other in the eye, will help your conversation stay focused and on point.
Depending on your situation, it may not be best to transfer the children back and forth between both parents' homes. Talk about how you can adjust and adapt the custody so that everyone's health and sanity stays intact.
If one parent lives in New Jersey and the other lives in California and was due to have the children out for a visit during their spring break, now is not the time to fly the children across the country. It is okay to be disappointed, but flexibility is key in this situation. Figure out how you can see the children more via video conferencing, phone calls, etc. One bright spot in all of this is the technology available to most Americans these days. Smartphones make it very easy to be able to keep in touch as much as you want.
Now is not the time to take advantage of the situation and use child custody as a tool to get back at your ex. Escalating a custody dispute will only make matters worse, and if you think you could call the authorities to intervene, ask yourself if this is really a good use of their time right now.
New Jersey Family Attorney
If you and your former spouse can't seem to reach common ground over adjusting child custody during this pandemic, all is not lost. Even though most New Jersey courts have suspended in-person proceedings indefinitely, a phone call to your New Jersey family attorney to discuss your situation will help. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you negotiate a consensual agreement with your former partner to resolve any parenting plan differences. For more information about Mr. Lento's representation, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.