Managing contact arrangements after a separation can sometimes be difficult at the best of times, but for some families the recent impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a whole new level of complexity.
Social distancing creates obvious challenges in ensuring safe face to face contact between the children and their parents, but also extended families if they are in different households.
Despite their initial error, the Government acknowledged on the 23rd March 2020 that “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes”. The stay at home rules apply, but the movement of children between their parents’ homes is an exception to the rule. It will, however, remain necessary to assess the circumstances in each case and decide whether ongoing contact presents a risk to either the child, the parents or other vulnerable individuals who may have been identified in a household.
In the current circumstances, it is considered permissible to vary aspects of an existing Child Arrangements Order, however, the Court will expect the parents to adhere to the spirit of the Order where at all possible. This might mean some creative thinking in order for children to continue having their face to face contact, particularly where contact had previously required supervision.
Whether you have a Child Arrangements Order or an informal agreement regarding arrangements for your children and if you are having difficulty in exercising contact during this difficult time then for further advice please contact us:
Judith Wheeler at the Leamington Spa office 01926 887700; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fiona Wilson at the Hinckley Office on 01455 610747; Fiona.email@example.com