Maintaining child arrangements and adhering to court orders in the face of Covid-19
Will the coronavirus lock down mean I can’t see my child?
We are all finding ourselves in unprecedented circumstances, in every aspect of our lives. When you are in the middle of relationship breakdown, it is difficult enough to navigate those unchartered waters, without the added complication of a global pandemic.
If you are currently trying to negotiate with your former partner about the time you spend with your children, or you have recently obtained a child arrangements order through the court, you may be concerned about how this can work given the ongoing coronavirus situation and the government’s guidance on social distancing and self-isolation.
What do I do if my child spends half their time with me and have with my ex-partner?
It must be said that a huge amount of common sense, pragmatism and goodwill needs to be applied. If there is a court order in place, then each party must endeavour to adhere to this as far as is reasonably practicable. In our previous lives, it might have been that issues arose about late returns of children, last minute changes without good reason, return of children’s belongings etc. However, these testing times should remind us that maintaining relationships and a routine is key to surviving these next few months.
Children need to keep seeing both parents during this period of uncertainty so parents need to work together, more than ever, to ensure this happens.
Can I still see my child if they don’t live with me?
As the Covid-19 situation is changing daily, so is the advice that we are being told to follow. Priority needs to be given to shielding vulnerable family members, and if a child is living in a household where a person shows symptoms, then the appropriate self-isolation period needs to be applied. The Prime Minister’s statement last night (23 March) is also unequivocal as to what is required over the next few weeks. In the guidance published, it states that ‘where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.
What do I do if my ex-partner is using coronavirus to stop me seeing my child?
Unfortunately, in these unprecedented times there will always be people who try to take advantage of circumstances for their own advantage. Family law can cause high conflict and people caught in family disputes may behave very irrationally as they try to leverage situations to suit their goals.
Will coronavirus stop my child arrangement hearing from happening?
At the time of writing, our local courts are making arrangements for hearings to be dealt with remotely, either by video link or telephone. At Shakespeare Martineau, it is business as usual. We are able to work from home and still deal with your case, and that can also include making an urgent application to the court if needed.
We remain committed to working alongside you to navigate your challenges, provide support and protect your interests during these uncertain times
If you are in a situation where you feel you are being blocked from reaching a sensible outcome, our highly experienced team are able to assist – contact a member of your local family team.
We are continuing to share our knowledge and expertise online. You can register for one of our learning events or contact the events team for more details or for more general business advice in relation to coronavirus visit our dedicated resource hub.