Associate Solicitor Gemma Kemp, in our leading Family team, discusses arrangements regarding children of separated parents during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
With the Government advising us to socially distance ourselves, and to self isolate if we or anyone in our household displays symptoms of Coronavirus (Covid-19), or if we are in a vulnerable group, what impact might this have on arrangements for the children of separated parents?
These are uncertain times for all of us, and it is important that parents try to work together amicably to reach a solution that is in the best interests of their children. Many children will understandably be feeling confused and concerned about the current situation. Maintaining their routine, so far as is possible, (and providing it is safe to do so) will help them to feel more secure and reassured.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) have put together some tips and resources to encourage positive and effective co-parenting, which can be found on their website.
The advice includes:
- Maintaining the children’s usual routine in terms of the time they spend with each parent, unless there are justified reasons not to (i.e. medical reasons and/or self isolation requirements).
- Adhering to the terms of any court order which is in place, so long as it is safe to do so.
- Keeping an open line of communication between parents. If there are issues with this (i.e. because of hostility or domestic abuse), a trusted third party should be considered.
- If either parent is self-isolating, consider other methods of communication with the children, such as Skype or FaceTime.
Consideration will need to be given to handovers, where these usually took place at the children’s school. Again, parents should take a sensible, pragmatic and flexible approach to ensure that the children’s best interests are being served.
If you are currently in court proceedings, the guidance is that the court hearings will still be going ahead. However, many of the Family Courts are now conducting the hearings remotely via video link or telephone.
Our specialist Family Law team continues to offer a full service and is here to support you.
For further information or legal advice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0118 951 6800.
This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.