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What Is a Social Distancing Contract for Divorced Parents?

What Is a Social Distancing Contract for Divorced Parents?The COVID-19 pandemic has forced divorced parents in the U.S. to adjust their parenting plans. Social distancing guidelines have changed what is necessary to protect children from harm, which may include limiting their travel between homes and making sure that they are not exposed to the virus. Some parents have gone as far as to create “social distancing contracts” that stipulate what they should be doing to protect their children from the coronavirus. Creating such a contract may seem prudent given the state of the world, but divorce professionals warn that some parents are trying to use the contracts to control their co-parents.

Potential for Manipulation

Co-parenting can be difficult if your co-parent has a history of manipulative behavior, and the public health crisis gives them a new way to try to control you. Your co-parent may try to pressure you into signing a social distancing contract that they wrote, claiming that it is in your children’s best interest. Provisions you see in the contract may include prohibiting you from:

  • Allowing any guests into your home, including family members
  • Meeting new people outside of your home
  • Attending non-essential gatherings

Limiting these activities may be necessary to protect your children during a pandemic, but a contract lets your co-parent decide who you can see and what you can do with no room for your own judgment.

How Co-Parents Can Work Together to Protect Their Children

A social distancing contract between co-parents is often unnecessary and may be difficult to enforce. A court is unlikely to approve a contract that places unreasonable restrictions on one of the parents or interferes with their parenting time. If co-parents discuss their concerns about protecting their children from the coronavirus, they may find that they already agree on proper ways to social distance or can easily come to an agreement. In this case, creating a contract on social distancing would be overkill.

What If Your Co-Parent Is Endangering Your Children?

You may need to take action if you believe that your co-parent is putting your children in danger by not practicing social distancing. You should start by talking to your co-parent about the activities or behavior you believe may be exposing themselves or your children to the coronavirus. Try to reach an agreement on how you will minimize the risk of your children getting infected, such as wearing masks in public and avoiding places that may have a large group of people. If your co-parent refuses to cooperate and continues their reckless behavior, then you should talk to your lawyer about whether there is a legal way to protect your children.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

COVID-19 will continue to affect parenting plans as long as there is a risk of the outbreak getting worse. A Naperville, Illinois, divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, P.C., can discuss ways you can modify your parenting plan to adapt to your current needs. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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