Here, in Rhode Island, we are in the thick of the cold and flu season, which is now being compounded with all the news of the Wuhan coronavirus out of China. While the Wuhan coronavirus is concerning, it should be noted that you are more likely to catch the flu. We hope that you took precautions and got a flu shot for yourself and your children at the beginning of the flu season, but there are plenty of other viruses out there to lay you out for several days.
So what happens when either you or your child gets sick when it is time for your child to transition homes as per your Rhode Island custody agreement? An illness of a child or parent can seriously impact a custody agreement, and it is a good idea to have a backup plan.
Be Willing to Adapt and Adjust
The first things you should consider are the age of the child and the seriousness of the illness. Very young children will need around-the-clock care when they get sick, whereas older, more independent children may not need as much constant attention. A lot of parents use the guideline that if the child is well enough to go to school, they are well enough to change homes. Just make sure you and your former partner agree on what defines that guideline.
When it comes to a sick parent, that same guideline could be used but by substituting school with work. If one of you is too sick to go to work, the other parent may have to keep the children a little longer. A parent who succumbs to the flu will not be able to care for children very well, especially if the children are very young.
The distance between parental homes should also be considered when dealing with sick children. If one parent lives in a nearby city, but it is still an hour or more drive, taking a child on a road trip may not be the best idea (especially if you're dealing with a stomach bug). If the parents live in the same area, transitioning a sick child should not be a problem.
Both parents should be willing to adapt and adjust when it comes to dealing with an illness—whether it's the child or the parent. After all, it is what is in the child's best interest.
Establish Clear Communication
When it comes to co-parenting a sick child, clear communication is crucial. If your pediatrician prescribes a medication, both parents need to know the dosage and how often it should be taken. Likewise, over-the-counter medication should also be shared. If one parent gives the child an over-the-counter pain reliever for a fever, they need to communicate this to the other parent in case that parent takes the child to the doctor.
Rhode Island Custody Attorneys
Dealing with a sick child is never easy, and it can be even more challenging when it's time to transition a sick child to their other parent's home. Some parents even add a “sick contingency” into their parenting plan so any missed parenting time due to an illness is addressed. Talk to the experienced custody attorneys at Inman & Tourgee Attorneys at Law if you have questions about a custody matter in Rhode Island.