With COVID-19 case numbers steadily rising, the CDC & Atrium Health are urging American citizens to adjust their normal holiday plans to help stop the spread of the virus.

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) has published “Navigating the Holidays with COVID-19: Create a Roadmap for Success.” The article is intended to help divorced or separated parents sharing custody get through the upcoming holidays in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AAML is the preeminent organization for family law practitioners. AAML Fellows are recognized by the bench, the bar, and their colleagues as highly skilled negotiators and litigators with the highest levels of knowledge, skill, and integrity. Hatcher Law Group partners Greg Hatcher and Paul DeJesse are both AAML Fellows. 

Below are a few tips from the article:

  1. PLAN EARLY:If there was ever a holiday season that could not be successfully navigated at the last minute, it is this one. As covered in last week’s newsletter, coordinating your holiday plan in advance has many benefits. It can also be beneficial to include an accurate assessment of applicable guidelines and possible tracing requirements and quarantine times based on protections needed in each household.
  2. FOLLOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD:Stick to your parenting plan or schedule as much as you can, if there is one. If not, start working out a plan. Communicate with your coparent as soon as possible if you think your customary schedule, family gatherings or travel arrangements will have to change because of the virus.
  3. AGREE ON A DESTINATION:Discuss how to have a holiday that is both happy and safe for everyone. Look carefully at the number of COVID-19 cases at any location where you might plan to go and also where you live. Will you be among people who are carefully observing the recommendations and rules (masks, social distancing, hand washing)?
  4. DON’T BE AFRAID TO STOP AND ASK FOR DIRECTIONS:Your particular situation may benefit from a consultation with an expert, who might be the family pediatrician (if the point of dispute involves health risks), or a family law attorney.
  5. BE OPEN TO ALTERNATIVE ROUTES:This holiday season is going to be different for everyone, not just those that coparent. Most people are concerned about doing the right thing, which will lead inevitably to finding new ways to gather and celebrate. Social and family connections will have to be balanced by safe behaviors and mitigating risk.

To read the entire list of tips and tools, visit the AAML websiteIf you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties relating to sharing custody of children for the upcoming holiday season, contact one of our experienced family law attorneys today.