Child Arrangements and Coronavirus
- AuthorAngela Killa
At an uncertain time for most of us, many of us will be concerned about the health and well-being of our children. Many parents who are no longer parenting together will be worried about how to deal with the current coronavirus outbreak and how this will impact arrangements for children to see both their parents.
At the present time, and in line with current government guidelines (which are of course changing daily), you should try and maintain your child's routine the best you can, whilst keeping your children safe and healthy. Unless there is a medical reason/self-isolation, or the government issue further guidance to the contrary, children should continue to spend time with each of their parents. The Government have confirmed that moving children under 18 between parents is permitted during this period of 'lockdown'. The government confirmed in their guidance that moving children under 18 between parents comes under "Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person".
If there is a Child Arrangement Order, this should be complied with unless following it would place you or other people at risk. This will hopefully allow your child to continue to have some routine and some normality.
If there is a genuine reason, such as self-isolation or government guidance that means following a Child Arrangement Order isn't possible, notify the other parent as soon as you can. So for example, if your child has a medical condition such as diabetes (or other conditions listed by the Government), it would be safe for your child to remain in one home. If communicating with the other parent places you at risk, try to ask someone else to help you with this. Try to 'think outside the box' in these circumstances. Enable your child to continue their relationship with the other parents through indirect contact such as FaceTime, Skype, telephoning or other available methods of communication. Perhaps make videos of the children singing or playing to send to the other parent and if you're the parent not able to currently see your child, maybe make a video reading a story or telling them your news.
If you have a court order that can't currently be followed, try to discuss with the other parent how the time may be made up at some point in the future. As parents, try to put your children's interests first as this is the priority. Sadly, some parents will take advantage of these circumstances to prevent their children from spending time with the other parent, however, this may add to any anxiety your children already feel about the pandemic. The Courts will expect parents to have acted sensibly in the circumstances and will want parents to resolve matters between them instead of reverting to the court if at all possible.
In the event that there is an urgent matter, currently, the Courts are still currently operating and are arranging hearings wherever possible by telephone, video link or other remote methods. The Court have less staff than usual and therefore matters can take longer to deal with. We are continuing to work as best as circumstances allow, so we are here to provide advice and representation.
The most recent guidance from The Rt. Hon. Sir Andrew McFarlane President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice can be found here here.
This article was last updated on 8th April 2020.
Angela is an Associate Solicitor in our Family team based at our Carmarthen Office, specialising in all aspects of Family Law including complex children matters, divorce and financial remedies. Contact Angela on 01267 248893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further advice, please contact our specialist Family Solicitors in:
- Swansea: 01792 773773
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- Carmarthen: 01267 234022
- Caerphilly: 02920 860628
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