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  •  Covid-19 restrictions and spending time with your children

     Covid-19 restrictions and spending time with your children

    Covid-19, and with the introduction of a second lockdown, can mean that parents feel even more pressure regarding making decisions surrounding child arrangements.

    At the time of writing this article, the current Government guidance remain the same as March 2020 and allows parents to continue to see their children (under the age of 18), where the children do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents. You are permitted to leave your home to access or have contact with your children. This includes moving children between households.

    Where contact is set out in a Child Arrangements Order, guidance given from the Family Court states, that unless you or your children are self-isolating, you should continue to follow the directions set out in the Child Arrangements Order.

    The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS) also issued guidance in March 2020 stating that ‘the expectation must be that parents will care for children by acting sensibly and safely when making decisions regarding the arrangements for their child’. Therefore, a parent should act in the best interests of their children.

    Even with the guidance provided by the Family Court and CAFCASS, it may still be a confusing and worrying time for many parents. There is a possibility that a parent or child may need to self-isolate. Equally, parents’ views on whether it is safe for contact to take place may differ from the other parent. However, on the condition that children are safe, it is important that children’s routines remain as consistent as possible.

    If you as a parent are concerned about children moving between households, with the agreement of the other parent, a safe alternative could be offered such as the following:

    • contact taking place outside such as a visit to a local park;
    • if one parent is living alone, forming a ‘support bubble’ with the other parent;
    • parents could agree between themselves to limit the amount of people they interact with outside of their household; or
    • increasing regular FaceTime, Zoom and telephone calls.

    Changing children’s routines and contact arrangements due to Covid-19 is, in some instances, likely to be unavoidable. If plans require changing, where possible, parents should keep the other parent informed in advance and try to involve each other in discussions surrounding the children.

    If you are having difficulties trying to agree child arrangements, please contact our office and speak to us in confidence, and we will provide you with advice surrounding the options available to you. Whilst in lockdown, our office does remain open but by appointment only. Most appointments are currently being conducted by telephone or Zoom.  We will continue to monitor the situation and update our website accordingly.

     

     

     


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