Separated parents and child contact during UK lockdown « McAlister Family Law

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Separated parents and child contact during UK lockdown

24.03.2020

Following the new lockdown rules announced last night (Monday 23 March) in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus, for the next three weeks everyone will only be able to leave their homes for one of four reasons:

  1. Shopping for necessities
  2. Once a day for exercise
  3. Medical need or providing care
  4. Travelling to or from work (if you can't work from home)

If these rules are broken the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

What does this mean for children, particularly if they reside with my ex- partner?

The rules on whether children of separated or divorced parents can visit them have now been clearly laid out. We can therefore reassure you that:

“Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”

We know this is a scary time not only for parents but particularly for children: of course, parents want to protect them, ensuring they feel safe, loved and able to maintain a good relationship with both parents during this challenging time.

Please bear in mind the new guidance forbids gatherings with friends and family.  We are therefore urging people instead to contact others by phone, via internet or social media using apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, Face time, Zoom and SKYPE and others.

If you are the parent wanting contact with your child and are struggling to do so during the lockdown, our advice is:

  1. Remain calm – this is vital, your children will pick up on any tension
  2. Make a plan as to how you can manage for the lockdown period; remind yourself, and your children, that this is a temporary situation – it won’t last forever and the children will need this reassurance
  3. Communicate regularly and keep communication civil by speaking to the other parent
  4. Discuss, and keep to, the ground rules you set with your ex-partner for the benefit of the children – you must act in a way that conforms with government guidelines around coronavirus
  5. As long as you and the non-resident parent are not displaying coronavirus symptoms, allowing the children to have contact with the non-resident parent is reasonable, but both yourself and the non-resident parent should be socially distancing from everybody else to avoid any spread of the virus
  6. Use alternative methods of communication. A lot of apps are quick and easy to download as well as being free. Scheduling times for FaceTime and Skype is a great way to keep in touch – make it fun for your children.

Remember the priority is your safety and the safety of your children but if you find yourself in this situation and are unable to resolve matters with the non-resident parent then we can assist you in mediating a plan which works for everyone.

 

If you have any serious concerns regarding contact with your children please get in touch today: our experts are here to help you. Call 0161 507 7145. 

Stay safe, everyone. We wish you well in these testing times.
 

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