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Covid-19 and Co-Parenting

3.31.20 Posted By Taylor House Custody

These are unprecedented times for our families and the global population.  Co-parenting during this pandemic has created novel issues for co-parents. Given these new challenges, it is more imperative than ever that co-parents work cooperatively in their child(ren)’s best interests. In recent weeks, I’ve been touched by unusually effective levels of cooperation between parents who share custody of child(ren). It seems as though, in light of Covid-19, many parties have been able to put their differences and disagreements aside and focus instead on their child(ren)’s safety and well-being.

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to strengthen co-parenting relationships and to use the circumstances to overcome past adversity and resentment. Setting differences aside today may very well prevent future custody disputes over the thing that matters to us the most – our children. Hopefully, for all our children, the spirit of working together long outlives Covid-19.

There will be some difficult co-parenting situations occasioned by the present circumstances.  While I hope you all can work effectively to co-parent, the circumstance raises various questions and concerns regarding Covid-19 as it relates to Chandler custody law. I relay the following tips in support of a successful co-parenting experience during these times.


Nearly all the below tips fall under this communication category. Communication is always key, but especially during difficult circumstances. More than ever before, it is critical that we relay information not only to our children (in an age-appropriate fashion), but also to our child(ren)’s co-parent.

It is recommended that each co-parent communicate all relevant information to the other parent, via email, text, or otherwise, prior to commencement of the other parent’s parenting time. These communications should be sent such that the other parent has sufficient time to respond and clarify any questions he/she may have. Every case is different, but Chandler family lawyers recognize that important topics for communication could include, but are not limited to:

  • Precautions you are taking in your own home to safeguard against Covid-19;

  • Whether anyone in your home has been exposed to Covid-19;

  • How your child(ren) are coping under the circumstances and any techniques you are utilizing to assist them during this time;

  • Clarification of how exchanges will occur to ensure social distancing;

  • Assuming you and your co-parent communicate effectively, whether a temporarily modified schedule would better protect your child(ren);

  • Whether you have all necessary supplies during your parenting time; and/or

  • Emergency issues as they arise.


The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts guidelines recommend compliance with all custody orders. Likewise, many jurisdictions have entered orders requiring exchange of children under custody orders as an essential activity. Your decision making and parenting time orders are in place to prevent the need to haggle over changes and details, especially under the circumstances. Sticking to the schedule will also promote consistency for your child(ren) which will be helpful given the abrupt closure of schools and need to change their daily schedules to accommodate stay-at-home orders.

On March 30, Governor Ducey issued a stay-at-home order for Arizona. Our interpretation of the order is that custody exchanges are still permitted and should continue to the extent possible. If you have a specific safety concern regarding your children, or, if your co-parent is not following court orders, please contact the office or call (480) 721-8772 to discuss.


Children often manifest worry, anger, and discontent by their behavior rather than by expressing it in words. Many parents are already struggling with their child(ren)’s undesirable behaviors during the early phase of the requirement to shelter-in-place. Be sure to set aside time for each child to show them love and compassion, rather than seeking first to punish. They need our help making sense of the world around them, and it might even help parents see their circumstances in a positive light. Most important, be transparent in your discussions with them, but still assure them in as many certain terms and ways as possible.


As many of you know, the Maricopa County Superior Court (with the exception of emergencies and orders of protection) is not allowing most in-person hearings to occur at this time. A huge number of evidentiary hearings scheduled during March and April have been continued. This will likely bog down our court system for a significant period. While you can still request a hearing, you may not be heard for months.

In the interim, use your attorney to work creatively and cooperatively with your co-parent. If that approach is insufficient and/or not feasible, consider private mediation. Most private mediators, myself included, are making themselves available for video conference mediation to ensure the safety of all participants. This may be the only way you can achieve a “swift” resolution to the issues you are experiencing.