The AFCC is the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. It is a group of individuals from many disciplines associated with or in the family court arena. AFCC members include lawyers, mediators, judges, psychologists, counselors, social workers, parenting coordinators, psychiatrists, researchers, teachers, and policymakers throughout the country. The AFCC recently released seven guidelines for parents who are divorced/separated and sharing custody of children during the COVID-19 pandemic. While these guidelines are not mandated, they provide knowledge and principles of good practice in navigating this crisis. A summary of the seven guidelines as set forth by the AFCC are:
1. BE HEALTHY: Comply with all CDC, local and state guidelines and model good behavior for your children. This also means to be informed by staying in touch with reliable media sources.
2. BE MINDFUL: Be honest about the seriousness of COVID-19, but maintain a calm demeanor for your children. DO not expose your children to endless media coverage, but encourage your children to ask questions and provide them with age appropriate answers.
3. BE COMPLIANT with Court Orders and Custody Agreements: Try to avoid reinventing the wheel despite these unusual circumstances. The Order or Agreement exists to prevent continued negotiation of timesharing.
4. BE CREATIVE: Encourage children stay in touch with the less available parent via sharing books, movies, games, FaceTime and Skype.
5. BE TRANSPARENT: Provide honest information to your co-parent about any exposure or suspected exposure of yourself or your child.
6. BE GENEROUS: Try to provide make up time for a parent who may be unable to exercise their time with the child.
7. BE UNDERSTANDING: Adversity can present an opportunity for parent to come together for the benefit of their child(ren). This is a difficult time for children too and it is important for them to know their parents did everything they could to explain what is happening and keep them as safe as possible.
You can find the full release from AFCC here.