Bringing Clarity To Confused Parents During This Time27th Mar 2020
On 23 March, Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown for a minimum of three weeks.
In jargon free language, this blog explains the effects of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it will impact on separated parents who wish to continue regular contact with their children.
Can I have contact with my children during the lockdown?
The government guidance has confirmed that children under 18 can be moved between their parents' houses.
As such, providing that no-one in either household is showing symptoms, child arrangements should continue as normal and parents are permitted to travel between each other's houses to facilitate this.
Do child arrangement orders still apply?
The Child Arrangement Order terms you have in place still apply and must be complied with.
Only if there is a real risk to the child or another person should these be deviated from.
In these challenging times, many will find themselves in a situation where normal routines cannot be managed due to school closures etc. Parents will need to collectively decide how best children spend their time during the lockdown and come to an arrangement.
For example, one parent may be able to provide childcare whilst the other parent is at work.
What to do if someone has coronavirus symptoms in either household?
A child should not spend time in a household which has developed symptoms and therefore must stay away until the household has followed the recommended NHS guidelines.
If the child themselves is showing symptoms, they should not travel between households in order not to spread the virus.
If your child is on the vulnerable persons list, they may be required to self-isolate. If required to self-isolate, parents must be flexible and put the best interests of their child’s health first. This may mean that one parent may not see their child for weeks, although this will be difficult, indirect contact may continue.
Maintaining indirect contact
Contact with both parents is in the best interests of any child, unless there is evidence to suggest otherwise.
There are now many platforms available that make keeping in touch very simple such as Skype, Facetime, email, telephone calls and text messages.
I Can't reach an agreement with the other parent
It is hoped that a common-sense approach in these challenging times can be taken to resolve issues with satisfactory solutions put in place to benefit all. If agreements cannot be reached, our experts within the Coles Miller family department can help you by offering support, guidance and solutions.
The Family Law department at Coles Miller Solicitors remains open. Although Solicitors may be working remotely, we are still able to offer business as usual via Skype / Zoom or alternative video conferencing methods for meetings and even at short notice.
Get Expert Legal Help
Our large team of solicitors in Poole, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Broadstone and Wimborne provides expert legal advice on a wide range of family matters including divorce, separation and children arrangements.
For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner Richard Perrins, head of our Family Law Department, 01202 355698.