25 March 2020

Contact, Children and COVID-19

Following the Prime Minister’s stay at home rules, introducing more draconian social distancing measures to stem the Coronavirus pandemic, many parents have become concerned about the impact this will have on contact, where parents are divorced or separated. There has, understandably, been some confusion about whether children can continue seeing the non-resident parent and what is deemed essential travel.

The government guidance is below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others#fnref:1

The first part of the guidance clearly states that “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents.” So, there is no reason why contact should not continue as per the contact agreement, whether that is a court ordered agreement or a more informal arrangement.

However, in these uncertain and difficult, times we all need to be sensible so that co-parenting can work as well as possible:

  1. The self-isolation rules should be adhered to if the children or someone in the household displays symptoms;
  2. Consider whether the children can be transported by private motor vehicle or whether public transport is required;
  3. Is one parent at higher risk?;
  4. Consider whether contact times can be extended to minimise handovers, subject to the agreement of both parents. A degree of reasonable flexibility should be adopted.

Our experienced Family lawyers are here to help. If you have any questions about contact during these troubling times, please call or email Katy Osborne, Liz Whittle, Clare Marion or Emily Prince direct. The implementation of our contingency plans means that all our lawyers are working remotely and we can continue to operate without disruption.

our lawyers deliver an excellent quality service, independently recognised by The Law Society and our many returning clients.

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