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COVID 19 and Divorce: Tips for Self Distancing while Living Together With your Soon to be Former Spouse

As if the COV-19 pandemic hasn’t triggered enough increased anxiety, living with your soon to be former spouse during this tumultuous time can add a whole other level of stress. Social distancing may mean closer proximity to the home and the person who you are in the process of separating from. Can you say STRESSFUL?!

Here are some tips to get you through the uncertainty with grace and dignity:

  • Schedules Matter! Establish a schedule that works for your family. Everyone is suddenly around ALL.THE.TIME. Whether you and your spouse are currently working at home, or whether one of you was a stay at home parent, you all are suddenly seeing a lot more of each other. Establish a plan. Tools such as FAYR coparenting app are designed to make co-parenting schedules and communications more stream-lined and efficient. Advance planning and scheduling reduces the likelihood of miscommunications over who is in charge of everything from dinner to bath time. Stability in the face of uncertainty are key for each parent and especially the children!
  • Communication is Key! When living together during divorce, whether there are children or not, agree that all communication will be rooted in collegiality and respect. “Friendly business partners” should be your new manta. We all know that if there are children, they are witness to your behavior. How do you want them to remember this time?  BIFF: And speaking of communication, if you haven’t heard of BIFF, you haven’t read about effective communication during divorce. Bill Eddy coined the phrase, keep your communication Brief. Informative. Friendly. Firm. There is power in deleting the text. If it makes you feel better to write it, send it to yourself. Remember the old adage, “dance as if no-one is watching, but text and email as if it will be read in Court one day.”
  • Opportunity Awaits! Remember that in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. You have an opportunity to model exemplary behavior to your children. Be flexible and allow your spouse opportunities for parenting time he or she may not have had prior to this pandemic. Flexibility is key!
  • Self care! Ensure that the schedules allow for time alone. Find a quiet space in your home where nobody can bother you. This is an uncertain time for your family compounded by the events in our communities. Breathe. There are resources that can help you find peace, calm and hope, I highly recommend Gabrielle Hartley’s Better Apart . Be easy on yourself. This is a marathon, not a race.

For more information regarding divorce mediation and online mediation, please call my office.

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