The spread of COVID-19 has stressed many family dynamics on a daily basis. Kitchen tables are now elementary school classrooms and backyards now host recess. With Maryland’s Stay-At-Home Order still in place, children and parents are finding themselves working through finding a new normal. COVID-19 Escalates in Capital Region
Parents that share time with their children between different households face an even larger set of challenges. Court orders that define parenting time, holiday schedules, and other child-focused decisions often do not help guide parents through questions like: “What happens in a global, viral pandemic?”.
With the seeming constant change to regulations and recommendations, the best recommendation is flexibility, while understanding your Order remains in place absent an agreement to deviate. Communicate with your children and your co-parent to make the best decision possible for your children and your collective family. Each day may bring new challenges and it is important that co-parents do their best to communicate about those challenges and remain open and flexible to the resolutions. Family flexibility is the new normal.
The Maryland Judiciary offers family services that can help co-parents work through decision making, including parenting plans and mediation services. Parenting Plan details are available here
and information on Mediation is available here. Another source of guidance may be working with a parenting coordinator. If you do not have a current Order for a parent coordinator, and both parents agree to try this route, the Court is still processing Consent Orders. During this period of social distancing and the Stay-At-Home Orders, mediation and parent coordination services are taking place via telephone and video conferencing and is an effective way to gain assistance from a professional.
If you need help navigating the new normal, please reach out to an experienced family attorney.