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What it's like for families co-parenting during a pandemic

Divorce is never easy but navigating co-parenting during a pandemic is a whole other level of complicated.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Between disagreements over social distancing and job losses impacting child support payments, co-parenting during the pandemic is a lot to navigate and can be costly when lawyers have to get involved.

Shamyra Parker is doing her best to co-parent her two boys, ages 8 and 10, with her ex-husband.

"The challenge has been we have 2 different parenting styles," Parker said. 

And the pandemic has only complicated that.

"My goal has been keeping them safe and not taking risks. His has been it’s not a big deal," Parker said. "It's probably a conspiracy."

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Her family is like so many right now. 

At the Sodoma Family Law Practice in Charlotte, lawyers there have been helping clients through this since March.

"You're having unprecedented issues come up that no one’s contemplated- no one saw coming," Attorney Doughton Horton said. "It requires going back to the drawing board."

First things first, he said, check your agreement. While there’s likely no clause for coping with a pandemic, some of the language in it may offer some guidance.

But he said the biggest thing right now is flexibility and communication, especially when it comes to the kids' safety and money issues cropping up because of COVID-19. 

"If that person is required to make child support or spousal support and all of a sudden income has changed that’s an issue we’ve seen come up a lot," Horton said. 

Parker said her biggest worry is purposely choosing to have her kids' doing online schooling, but said she wonders what the boys are exposed to when they’re with their dad. 

"I focus on the things I can control and be as honest and upfront as possible then I just have to trust everything is going to be ok, that’s all I can do," Parker said. 

This has become such an issue even the state and local courts have addressed it, issuing several directives, basically saying adhere to the arrangement in place as much as you can. 

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