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Guidelines for Coparenting in Times of Crisis (COVID – 19)

Helpful Tips for Successful Communication Between Parents

  1. To all our clients: The following seven guidelines (adapted from AFCC, 2020) are presented to all our coparents who, in these stressful times, are experiencing difficulties and challenges in exercising their parental authority and complying with an existing parenting plan or court order. We want to underline our emphasis on the importance of the interdependence of all parties involved, the need to focus on flexibility that will lead to new solutions, and the fact that there is a family narrative that is being played out and that your children will carry with them into adulthood. These are exceptional times requiring collaboration, mutual trust, and creative solutions. We know that you will rise to the occasion in ensuring the best interest and well being of your children.

     

    1. BE HEALTHY. Comply with all federal, provincial and local and guidelines and model good behavior for your children with intensive hand washing, wiping down surfaces and other objects that are frequently touched, and maintaining social distancing. Always stay informed as there are new developments every day. Stay in touch with the most reliable media sources and avoid the rumor mill on social media.

     

    1. BE MINDFUL. Be honest about the seriousness of the pandemic, but maintain a calm attitude and convey to your children your belief that everything will return to normal in time. Avoid making careless comments in front of the children and exposing them to endless media coverage intended for adults. But, at the same time, encourage your children to ask questions and express their concerns and answer them truthfully at a level that is age appropriate.

     

    1. BE COMPLIANT. With court orders and parenting agreements. As much as possible, try to avoid reinventing the wheel despite the unusual circumstances. The parenting agreement or court order exists to prevent endless haggling over the details of timesharing.

     

    1. BE CREATIVE. At the same time, it would be foolish to expect that nothing will change when people are being advised not to fly and vacation attractions such as amusement parks, museums and entertainment venues are closing all over Canada and the world. In addition, some parents will have to work extra hours to help deal with the crisis and other parents may be out of work or working reduced hours for a time. Plans will inevitably have to change. Encourage closeness with the parent who is not going to see the child through shared books, movies, and games, and communication through FaceTime or Skype.

     

    1. BE TRANSPARENT. Provide honest information to your co-parent about any suspected or confirmed exposure to the virus, and try to agree on what steps each of you will take to protect the child from exposure. Certainly both parents should be informed at once if the child is exhibiting any possible symptoms of the virus.

     

    1. BE GENEROUS. Try to provide makeup time to the parent who missed out, if at all possible. Family law judges expect reasonable accommodations when they can be made and will take seriously concerns raised in later filings about parents who are inflexible in highly unusual circumstances.

     

    1. BE UNDERSTANDING. There is no doubt that the pandemic will pose an economic hardship and lead to lost earnings for many, many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances. Adversity can become an opportunity for parents to come together and focus on what is best for the child. For many children, the strange days of the pandemic will leave vivid memories and a family narrative. It’s important for every child to know and remember that both parents did everything they could to explain what was happening and to keep their child safe.

New Proposed Divorce Act in Canada

Legislation (Bill C-78) was tabled by the federal government in May,2018, that will overhaul  and modernize the Divorce Act and make the family justice system more efficient and accessible.

Issues and Discussions

The Notion of Continuity in Family life

It is not uncommon to hear from both professionals and those affected by a separation or divorce that the family is no longer a viable unit following marital or partner break-up and that family life has, somehow, ended.

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How Coparents Can Communicate More Effectively

Effective communication between the parents ranks highest on the list of all the elements that contribute to a successful co-parenting arrangement. In fact, better communication leads to better adjustment after separation and divorce. 

Helpful Tips for Successful Communication Between Coparents

Helpful Tips for Successful Communication Between Parents

 

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