14 July 2020

Family Law Series Part 4 – COVID-19 and its effects on children matters

COVID child matters

If you are currently living in two different households, the Government has clarified the position on co-parenting.
If you have children under 18 and you and your ex-partner or spouse are living separately, the children can move between the homes of their parents.

This does not mean that health should be ignored, as the risk of infection is always there and the wellbeing of the children should be paramount. For example, in a case where one parent is a key worker, it may be sensible for the other parent to look after children, to reduce infection risks.

In the event that, for any reason, a child cannot spend their scheduled time with one parent, the court would expect regular contact to be maintained through other means, such as FaceTime or Skype.

For any variation to current arrangements, you should agree these between you, and put in writing wherever possible. This can be done by way of a letter, email or text messages.  Guidance says that “the court is likely to look to see whether each parent acted reasonably and sensibly in the light of the official advice and the stay-at-home rules in place at that time, together with any specific evidence relating to the child or family”.

If there is a disagreement, do feel free to seek our advice. We may be able to assist in enforcing or applying for a change to a contact arrangement. As previously stated on our blog, the courts are holding hearings remotely, so it is possible to make an application where needed.

It is essential that parents avoid any conflict in front of the children. If this means putting certain feelings aside, let it be and remember this is only temporary.

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