Advice for Separated Parents During Lockdown
- AuthorJennifer Allen
We find ourselves in unprecedented times and the current public health crisis raises worries and concerns, not least from separated parents wondering how to manage the arrangements for their children at this time.
The Government have clarified that the stay at home rules do allow for children under the age of 18 to be moved between their parents’ homes.
The guidance from the Courts and CAFCASS is clear – wherever possible, parents should stick to the agreed arrangements for their children, whether this is set out in a Court Order or informal arrangements between parents.
The law has not changed concerning Court Orders and where an Order is in force, it must be complied with. If there is non-compliance it may be possible for the other parent to apply to the Court to enforce the terms of the Order. It may be possible that the parent with the child will argue that they had a justified and reasonable excuse for not complying to the terms of the Order. It will be very much at the Court’s discretion and each case considered on their particular set of circumstances.
The Court will however expect parties to communicate in these difficult times and discuss their worries and concerns and work together to find a practical solution in the best interests of the children.
Parents should of course follow the Government’s advice for hand washing, social distancing, avoiding public transport where possible and minimising coming into contact with other people.
For children of school-age, parents should discuss how this is to work between their home, to avoid duplicating work and providing consistency for children between their homes.
Where households are having to self-isolate, parents should agree how contact with the other parent can be maintained – FaceTime, Skype and other video contact should be considered as well as other creative ways to spend time together, such as online games.
These are of course worrying times for everyone and children will necessarily pick up on their parents’ tension and worries. They will have their own worries about being separated from their wider family, friends and security of their school environment. This is an opportunity for separated parents to try to work together for the benefit of their children, putting the adult issues between them aside, to support their children and families for the short and longer term.
For the current guidance in respect of moving children between households and arrangements for separated families, please see information for parents at:
- Statement from the President of the Family Division (https://www.judiciary.uk/announcements/coronavirus-crisis-guidance-on-compliance-with-family-court-child-arrangement-orders/ )
- CAFCASS (https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/covid-19-guidance-for-children-and-families/)
- Resolution (https://resolution.org.uk/resolution-is-here-to-help-you/)
If you have any concerns about your own family situation and your family circumstances, our Family Team will be happy to discuss this with you. Please contact us on 01242 574244 or email email@example.com.