Planning for disaster across two households

Published on
May 10, 2023

Extreme weather has become part of American life in recent years. Michigan has been no exception. It’s more important than ever that every family has a disaster preparedness plan. That includes divorced parents. But how do you make a plan with someone you can barely tolerate? As with many aspects of co-parenting, you remember that it’s in your children’s best interests.Some things, like having go-bags packed and a hard copy list of contacts, are universal regardless of what your family looks like. However, some things are more complicated when you’re making a plan that spans two households.

Have go-bags for the kids in both homes

If you’re sharing custody of your children, you don’t know where they’ll be when a hurricane or other emergency strikes. Both of you should prepare as though your kids (and any pets that transition back and forth with them) will be with you.

Have an emergency meeting spot that works regardless of where the kids are

Find a spot that’s convenient to both homes. You might live far enough apart that one parent’s home may be a safe place to wait out the evacuation from the other parent’s home.

Make sure the schools have everyone’s contact information

If you share custody, your children’s school(s), daycare facilities and other places where they spend time should be able to get ahold of both of you if you need to pick up your children or just to let you know they’re safe. It’s also a good idea for your kids to have cards with ICE (in case of emergency) information, including names, phone numbers and addresses.

Commit to communicating

No matter whose parenting time it is with the kids, co-parents should agree to touch base if anything happens that requires them to leave their home, bring the kids home from school or take other emergency measures. Don’t assume that because it’s your co-parent’s custody time that they’ll do it or that they’re safe if you don't hear otherwise.These are just a few things to consider as you create an emergency preparedness plan with your co-parent. If planning isn’t their strong suit, you may need to take the lead or it won’t get done. Remember that they may have other skills that will come in handy the next time the unexpected happens.

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