How to deal with a high-conflict co-parent during the Coronavirus
High-conflict Co-parenting Attorneys during COVID 19 Monmouth and Ocean County NJ
Whether you have separated from your ex amicably or on less friendly terms, co-parenting in the time of Covid-19 is not easy.
These are trying times for the whole planet. We are in a transition globally to a more sustainable and community-connected way of life that we did not pay much attention to before the Coronavirus. However, some are using this opportunity for self-reflection and reorganization of priorities and values, and others are allowing the emotional – and financial – instability of these times to get the best of them, projecting their fears and stresses onto those they love most.
In some cases, it can be downright traumatic, depending on the circumstances you face. When you have an ex who is driven to high conflict, however, and you are attempting to navigate the safety and security of your family while having to put out relational fires, you can feel overwhelmed. So what do you do in the case of a high drama co-parent? How can you make co-parenting work, so that you all get through the pandemic safely and somewhat emotionally intact? Below is a list of tips for navigating these choppy waters.
Communicate from an anchored place.
Probably the single most important focus for navigating this time of co-parenting with a high-conflict ex is open communication. Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the environment created when you do communicate: if you know that insults, withholding of information, or some other form of verbal abuse are commonplace in your attempts at communication, prepare your own vessel to be a grounded receiver. Commit to taking extra time for self-care during this time, even if it seems impossible to fit into your schedule. In order to communicate wisely, you will need all of your wits about you, so self-care rituals such as a daily yoga and meditation practice, spending time in nature, ample hydration, and seeking the support of a therapist are all top priorities.
Put it in writing.
Expect that communication is going to break down into the same old hurls of insults and verbal injuries. Don’t bite. The goal of communication with your ex at this time is developing and following a protocol that ensures that your child, and you both, are safe. When this shared goal is kept in mind – and reminded for the benefit of both parties often – everyone benefits and communication is generally steered towards solutions-based thinking.
Put in writing your plans for how to safely shuffle your child throughout their day. Consider the following items:
- What are the safety procedures for leaving each house?
- What are the safety procedures for arriving at each house?
- Who will sanitize the surfaces of the house, and how often?
- What are protocols for face touching in the car between houses?
- How can you standardize safety and sanitation practices and jobs across houses, so your child feels a sense of consistency and personal empowerment for helping in the sanitation practices?
- What are the rules for social distancing?
- How will online education be handled? Create a set schedule of hours in which the child will partake in online learning, and agree that each parent will be fully available to support that learning.
- What are the protocols if one of the family members begins to show symptoms of illness?
When the above considerations are kept in mind, the focus of negotiations between exes remains centered around the safety of their child. Put these agreements in writing, and have each parent sign them. This will allow you to simply refer to the agreement in the future when conflict arises.
Stick to your parenting time agreement as much as possible.
At this time of upheaval, a child may get thrown particularly out of balance, because so many of the steady containers that support their consistent growth – home, school, extracurricular activities – are revoked or changed. This can cause emotional instability in your child that may certainly affect your own ability to deal with conflicts that arise. While we navigate this pandemic, it is important to keep as many routines and rituals as intact as possible. Your court-approved parenting time agreement is a great place to start. What schedules is it possible to retain? This consistency is crucial to your child at this time.
Seek legal support.
In the case of conflict that simply can’t be resolved by keeping communication focused on the facts and not reacting to the hostile communication of your ex, you can seek the support of your attorneys to engage in mediation or develop an emergency parenting time agreement for review by the court. If your ex is refusing to follow the established custody agreement, you have the right to go before a judge in an online hearing and argue why you feel it is best that your child be with you alone at this time. This would be a last resort, however, as the process for scheduling healing is more delayed due to current restrictions.
Monmouth Parenting Time Lawyer Help You Navigate through these unprecedented times
At Bronzino Law Firm, our team of attorneys is committed to supporting our clients across Point Pleasant, Brick, Wall, Sea Girt, Spring Lake, and the greater Ocean and Monmouth County Areas in working with their co-parent to carry out custodial agreements and navigate revisions to court-ordered routines that may be necessary.
To schedule an online consultation with a member of our firm regarding your co-parenting needs during this time, please visit our online form or call us at (732) 812-3102 to learn more about your options.