COVID-19 & Contact Arrangements: FAQs

Posted on March 27, 2020
Adult tying child's shoes

Should I still be sending my child for contact with their other parent?

Under current guidance issued by the government and Family Courts, unless there are justified medical/self-isolation issues, children should continue their usual routine of spending time with each of their parents. If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place this should be followed unless to do so would put the child, or others at risk.
Guidance states that it is expected that parents will act ‘reasonably and sensibly’ when deciding whether contact is safe to continue for their particular child.

Will I get in trouble if I stop contact between my child and their other parent?

A parent will be criticised for stopping contact unnecessarily, however there are certain circumstances in which suspending contact is likely to be seen as justified.
It is likely that each of the following would be seen as justifiable reasons for temporarily stopping contact:

• Where a member of either parents’ household is showing symptoms of COVID-19
• Where the child in question is classed as ‘vulnerable’ due to their health needs
• Where one or other parent is ‘vulnerable’ due to their health needs

In all 3 of these situations, the advice from the authorities is to reduce contact and movement between households.
Ideally it would be for both parents to agree to stopping contact and, if they do, it is advisable to have this agreement in writing whether that be text, email or written with a pen and paper.
Where parents do not agree, the parent who stops contact will need to be prepared to justify their decision if they are later challenged by the other parent or the Court.

If my child isn’t seeing their other parent, what else can we do?

Children thrive on routine and with all the upheaval the current lockdown is causing, it is important to try and keep things as normal for children as possible.
If a child is not able to see a parent face to face due to being in isolation, it is expected that parents will consider alternatives such as Skye/WhatsApp/FaceTime/telephone or any of the other apps and technologies that are currently available.
Parents are encouraged to think creatively. Skype and Facetime can both be used for the other parent to read stories to the child or to sing and play together. For older children, watch parties could be set up to watch videos or even films in real time and group chats could allow other family members to also be involved in spending time together.

Whatever the situation, the Jefferies Family Team are here to help and advise.

You can get in touch with us using any of the following contact details:

• Anne-Marie Rainsford 07725 742991
• Shannon Tomkins 07849 834276
• Brooke Robdrup-Kilgour 07825 250553
• Anna South 07736 913060
• Stella Young 07824 807360

Further guidance on issues surrounding COVID-19 and arrangements for children can be found via the following links:

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