Guidance for Separated Parents during UK lockdown
- AuthorRene Panayiotou
Whilst Boris Johnson has announced a 3-week lockdown in the UK, there is uncertainty surrounding how long this quarantine period will actually last given that confirmed cases of COVID 19 continue to rise. As of Sunday 29th March 2020, the Prime Minister, who himself has tested positive for COVID 19, has warned that tougher lockdown measures may be necessary as a result of death tolls in the UK reaching 1,000.
For the time-being, we have been advised to stay at home and only venture out for food, health reasons, work (if you cannot work from home) and for exercise which is limited to once per day. We should not be meeting friends or family that live outside of our household, so what does that mean for separated parents who do not live with their child/ren?
Thankfully there is an exception for separated parents, as the Government guidelines state that where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes. There is therefore no doubt that child arrangements should be maintained despite the Government’s strict social distancing rules. This should of course be balanced against any risk posed to the child’s health and safety. If you or your child are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 such as a fever or a persistent dry cough, self-isolation should be implemented immediately which could naturally lead to a suspension of child arrangements for 14 days.
Ultimately, separated parents should ensure that their child/ren spend time with the other parent during this unprecedented time in accordance with the Government guidelines. Please click the following link for further guidance on staying at home during the UK lock-down: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others
If your ex-partner is not adhering to previously agreed child arrangements or has suspended contact with your child/ren as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. As a last resort, child arrangements can be enforced through the Family Law Courts, which continue to operate remotely.
For further information and/or advice, please do not hesitate to contact Chapman Pieri Solicitors on 0208 882 9850. We are family law specialists who continue to work remotely to assist members of the public in relation to all family law matters including children matters.