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Do you have a co-parenting family emergency plan?

Connecticut parents never know when the unexpected will happen and they'll need to get to their children immediately -- whether it's a blizzard, a tornado or a school shooting. Sadly, none of these things is outside the realm of possibility.

It's always wise to have a family emergency plan in place to help ensure that everyone can find each other and get to safety. However, when parents divorce, the old emergency plan you once had in place may no longer work.

The founder of the app coParenter urges parents who are no longer together to develop a co-parenting family emergency plan. He notes that "getting a call about an active shooter at your child's school is not the time to start negotiating whose responsibility it is to pick them up."

Parents often aren't thinking straight in an emergency. No one should have to worry about whether their co-parent is picking up the kids or it's their responsibility. Even worse may be not knowing whether your kids are safe or not because your co-parent isn't communicating with you.

Following are some things to consider when developing your co-parenting family emergency plan:

  1. Make sure that both parents and other family members who potentially might be involved are signed up to receive all relevant local emergency alerts.
  2. Determine who will pick up the kids if the parent with custody on a particular day can't get to them (or if neither parent can).
  3. If possible, designate someone outside your area to be a central contact point for your family. Sometimes during local emergencies, like blackouts, it may be easier to get in touch with someone in another city or state.
  4. Select a reunification site in case you cannot return home or are forced to evacuate. If you and your co-parent live some distance apart, you may each need to each choose a local spot like a library, church or community center.

Make sure that your kids have a copy of your emergency plan. You should also share it with family members, babysitters and/or trusted friends.

No matter what your relationship with your co-parent is, an emergency or tragedy is no time to argue over logistics of child custody. Having an emergency plan in place can be invaluable to you, your co-parent and your children.

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