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Creating a family emergency plan as co-parents

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Custody |

These days, no matter where you live, it’s crucial to be prepared for any type of weather-related or other extreme event that could require you to leave your home with very little warning. South Carolina is certainly no stranger to severe weather. That’s why emergency preparedness experts suggest that families create a disaster preparedness plan – including a plan for where and how to connect with one another if you’re in different locations when disaster strikes.

These plans often get lost or thrown out when couples divorce. However, if you’re co-parenting, you’ll need such a plan just as much – if not more – than when your family lived together under one roof. If you’re still in the divorce process, it may be wise to develop this plan in conjunction with your parenting plan. However, it’s never too late to develop a plan – at least for communication and reunification – with your co-parent even if you have had a parenting plan in place for some time. No matter how you feel about each other, you can both agree that this is in your children’s best interests.

Make sure the kids have go-bags in both homes

If the kids transition between your homes, they could be in either one when a hurricane or other emergency occurs. Make sure you each have an emergency bag for each child (and for their pet(s), if they move back and forth) in your home. Both homes, of course, should have emergency supplies on hand at all times as well.

Be sure that all necessary parties have contact information

Your children’s school(s), daycare centers, babysitters and select relatives and friends should all have both your and your co-parent’s contact information so they can reach you if they need to notify you that your child is safe or make arrangements to reunify you. It’s always smart for your kids (no matter their age) to carry ICE (in case of emergency) contact information, including phone numbers, email and addresses, with them.

Agree on a reunification point

It’s a good idea to agree on at least one possible reunification point that’s as convenient as possible for everyone. That way, if all lines of communication are down, you are more likely to end up in the same place if you have to evacuate. There may be locations that are regularly used as shelters in your area, for example.

This all takes planning and cooperation. That’s why it’s a good idea to work this out as you develop your other agreements during divorce or non-marital child custody negotiations when you have legal guidance at your disposal. With that said, seeking legal guidance is certainly an option at any time if you could benefit from personalized feedback.