Guidance for separated parents with children during Covid 19

Moving children under 18 between their parents’ homes is allowed the during the current Covid 19 pandemic. Cafcass (the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) has published useful COVID-19 guidance for separated parents

What do I do if my child or someone in mine or the other parent’s household becomes ill and has to self-isolate?

In these circumstances the parent’s household will need to self-isolate and the child should stay there until self-isolation is over. It is vital for there to be communication between parents if this situation arises to both reassure each other as to the welfare of the child and to provide the child with the means to communicate with the other parent by indirect means such as telephone, WhatsApp, Houseparty App, Skype,  FaceTime, Messenger.

Must existing court orders be followed?

Cafcass guidance is that parents should comply with the terms of the existing order unless to do so would put the health of their child/children or others at risk. Some extremely helpful and sensitive guidance has been published by the President of the Family Division for those who have existing Children Arrangements Orders.

Will my court hearing still go ahead?

There are no face to face court hearings at present but hearings continue to take place remotely, with the courts focusing on urgent children matters and domestic abuse injunctions.

What about when time spent with a parent is supervised and/or there have been allegations of domestic abuse?

Where time spent with a parent must be supervised, difficulties will arise and handovers between parents in situations involving domestic abuse allegations, will not be able to take place.

What if when and how the time my child usually spends time with the other parent has to change during the pandemic?

This could be the case if the other parent lives a long way away/abroad. You should find other methods to ensure your child keeps in touch with the other parent and there are many forms of free ways of doing this such as by using WhatsApp, House Party, Netflix Party, FaceTime, Messenger, Skype or Zoom video calls and also telephone calls.

Where parents can agree alternative arrangements for their children to have contact with the other parent in these circumstances, your child will be spared the trauma of parental conflict. If a parent is either not allowed to talk to the other parent or finds it either too difficult a very useful App called Our Family Wizard may assist.

What if the place my child usually spends time with the other parent is closed?

If your child usually spend time with their other parent at, for example a swimming pool, soft play area or to go out for a meal, whilst these venues are currently closed, under government guidelines a child can still spend time with the other parent by going out for a walk/ one period of exercise a day.

The above is for guidance and is not legal advice.

Should you require specialist legal advice please contact Victoria Furlong for a free no obligation 30 minute discussion on 01284 715675 (DD); 07789 215 998 ( M or text) ; or victoria.furlong@rudlings-wakelam.co.uk