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For separated or divorced families, co-parenting can be stressful even in good times. During the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, families are discovering that previously stable arrangements may not withstand the stresses created by fears of illness and mandates to shelter in place. And for families whose co-parenting and custody arrangements were already contentious, COVID-19 may be amplifying conflicts and creating new ones.
“In a crisis, children and parents alike need a place where they feel safe,” says Anthony Charuvastra, MD, adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Langone and member of its Child Study Center. “For many of us, that place is the family, in all its various configurations. How can divorced, separated, or separating parents address the unique parenting challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic creates?”