COVID-19 – a guide for separated parents

Posted on: March 25th, 2020

Are you a parent, separated from your ex-partner? If so, you may be anxious right now about how to navigate child arrangements in such uncertain and concerning times. What happens to children who have two homes as a result of a separation or divorce?

The Government has advised that where children under 18 live in separate homes, they can be moved between their parents’ homes. There are some key issues to consider regarding this though, that we’ve covered below.

First of all, it is imperative that self-isolation rules are adhered to in the event that a member of the household becomes unwell; Government guidelines must be followed. If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, this should be complied with unless it puts your child or other people at risk. If your child has an underlying health issue, this must also be taken into account.

If you or your child are self-isolating, it is important that you communicate this openly to your child’s parent. If it’s not possible to communicate with them directly, then use a trusted third party (such as a friend, relative or family lawyer) to help you.

If one of you is having to self-isolate, face-to-face contact will not possible as per the Government advice. In these circumstances, consider using technology as a means of maintaining social contact. For example, you can use FaceTime, Skype, Zoom or another form of video chat to keep having those interactions during self-isolation.

If contact has to be missed due to illness or self-isolating, try to be flexible where possible, and offer alternative dates for contact if you can. It is also advisable to try and shield children from adult discussions about child arrangements, as these sorts of conversations may heighten their anxiety.

Keep conflict at a minimum where possible, and think of the best interests of your child at all times. If your ex-partner refuses to co-operate with you, and will not agree to reasonable contact arrangements, take further advice from a family lawyer.

At Coffin Mew, our supportive and understanding family lawyers offer practical and straightforward advice on all types of child arrangements matters. We are available by telephone, email, Zoom, FaceTime or WhatsApp video for all clients and can find a time to best suit you.

If you would like further guidance or have any questions concerning child arrangements, please contact our family law team or fill in our enquiry form.