We are now in the third week of staying at home. The novelty has worn off. The situation we thought was going to last two or three weeks might last two to three months. On top of that, if you have primary physical custody of your children and usually work outside the home, you are now working remotely and running a daycare, being the teacher, principal, lunch lady, and janitor of the local school. If that were not stressful enough, there is the specter of furloughs and wage cuts looming over your head. Oh yeah, we are all trying to avoid getting coronavirus during all of this too.
My point is that we are all facing stressors that we could not even imagine a few weeks ago, let alone when our custody order was entered. Take a second, step back, and take a breath. Think about your mental health and the well-being of your children.
You may have an equal time arrangement with your children’s other parent, which means you get periodic breaks. But if you have primary physical custody and feel like you are carrying this whole burden yourself, I have a unique and somewhat unorthodox idea for you. On an interim basis, let the other parent have a little more time with the children. Chances are his or her job is in the same precarious netherworld yours is in. He or she is either working from home or furloughed indefinitely.
I am not saying this would work in all situations, but maybe the break you would get would allow you to do some work remotely for a day or two extra per week, which would give you the peace of mind to better care for your children. We all have too many balls in the air right now. If you are on the other side of the equation, offer to take the children an extra day or two per week. It might just work to everyone’s benefit.
If you are suspicious of setting a precedent in allowing the other side more time, as I said, this might not be for everyone. Still, right now, schedules are entirely different, and at some point, normalcy will return, and regular custody schedules will resume as well. If you can work out a temporary informal arrangement with the other parent, this is great. If not, and you are interested in pursuing this idea, any of the family law attorneys at Weber Gallagher can help.
Chelsea R. Seidel