With the Government advising everyone to avoid “non-essential” social contact, to self-isolate where appropriate, and with school closures having been recently announced, this is certainly an unprecedented time for all.
For many separated parents, the Coronavirus pandemic is creating its own unique challenges and is likely to cause disruption to the usual arrangements for children.
If you are expecting the arrangements for your children to be affected, it would be beneficial to open up the lines of communication with the other parent early on in anticipation of, or in response to, school closures and work challenges to try and create a suitable modified schedule. If you do not feel that you can talk to, or otherwise communicate with, the other parent then you could seek assistance from a third party (whether that be a relative, a mutual friend, or a professional) to come up with a sensible solution.
If there has to be a substantial modification resulting in your children not being able to see the other parent for a prolonged amount of time, then other options for maintaining contact should be explored such as telephone contact and/or FaceTime.
You should continue to pay careful attention to information and guidance provided by the Government and the health authorities.
In the event that you take the decision to self-isolate due to health concerns, this should be explained to the other parent and every effort should be made to allow your children to continue to have a relationship with them.
One of the more pressing questions for separated parents may be what to do when there is a Child Arrangements Order in place. Although you may wish to limit your children’s movements, it is important that you still comply with the terms of any Court Order during the pandemic insofar as is possible. Even if there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, you can still agree to vary its terms with the other parent whilst social distancing and isolation is being observed.
In general, the current health crisis should not be considered an excuse to restrict the arrangements for children, whether those arrangements are on an informal basis or set out in a formal Court Order.
Always try to put aside any issues which may be between you and the other parent so you can focus on the best interests of your children at this challenging time. This should help with having more constructive discussions about what arrangements may be suitable for the foreseeable future.
If you would like to know more about the topics discussed in this article, please contact a member of the Family Team on 01603 610911.
Note: The content of this article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken in any specific circumstance.