Parenting Time During The COVID-19 Pandemic – Part 2: What to do when your kid says, “I don’t want to go to Mommy’s or Daddy’s house.”

Parenting time can often be a heated topic during a divorce and can continue to be so even after the divorce is final. However, the Coronavirus Pandemic has brought to light all kinds of new parenting time issues so we want to share with you some tips on handling co-parenting situations more positively and effectively without damaging your child’s relationship with either one of you.

One of the most common situations that we see happening not just now during the COVID pandemic, but other times as well, is when you have a younger child who doesn’t fully understand the situation. What do you do when your child says, “I don’t want to go to daddy’s / mommy’s this weekend, it’s boring!” A judge is not going to let your child dictate when he or she goes to the other parent’s house. If it’s in a court order, you are expected, and required, to follow it. That means your child, too. We find that the best way to “enforce” the parenting time with your child is to encourage them to go to the other parent’s house. Find ways to make it seem exciting even if they think it’s “boring.” Kids will follow your lead. If they know you hate mom or dad, they may feel like they’re bonding with you by expressing that they don’t want to go. However, studies show that it’s important for kids to have a relationship with both parents.

Put another way, try showing your child a path, communicate with your co-parent about the situation, maybe come up with a plan together this is a time where you both need to encourage each other. Reassure your child and don’t lead them to believe they have a choice. They don’t have a choice whether to go to bed, or eat dinner, or brush their teeth, right? Well they don’t get a choice whether to follow the custody plan – and neither do you.

If you believe that there has been a significant change in circumstances, or your child is unsafe in the other parent’s home, that is a different matter.

If you are unsure whether you have any basis to modify your custody plan, or how your court order may be affected by the COVID Pandemic, you can inquire with us by clicking to schedule a Client Vision Meeting.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

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