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What Does Lockdown Mean for Contact?

Posted on March 24, 2020
Adult putting lunchbox in child's bag

The phrase ‘unprecedented times’ has been thrown around a lot over the last few weeks and it is true that COVID-19 is presenting a lot of new challenges that we have never had to deal with before and that can be a source of anxiety for a lot of people.

Many parents are being faced with hard decisions about the safety of their families and one big one relates to contact arrangements for children with separated parents.

With the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23 March 2020 that the UK will be going into lockdown, many parents across the UK have been left asking whether they should still be sending their children for contact and whether, where there is a Court order in place, they could get into trouble for not following it and sending their children for contact. This uncertainty has not been helped by Michael Gove’s recent appearance on Good Morning Britain on 24 March 2020 where he made certain comments and then later appeared to backtrack.

It has however been confirmed by recent government guidance that children under the age of 18 are allowed to move between separated parents.

For the time being at least, unless there are justified medical reasons or a household are self-isolating, children should maintain their usual routine of spending time with both parents.

Where there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, this should be followed unless it is unsafe to do so and puts either the child or others at risk.

If contact cannot take place due to a household being in self-isolation, then it is important to ensure contact of some form takes place. It is important to remember that contact is as much about reassuring the child as it is about the parent getting to see their son or daughter.

Skype or Facetime are great ways of allowing children to speak with their other parent whilst they are not able to physically spend time with them. Parents can watch TV with their children or sing or play.

It is important that parents are flexible and understanding. No one wants to be in this situation, and we all need to find ways to deal with it.

During this time, communication between parents is key, but it is acknowledged that this is not always possible.

Despite the current restrictions, Jefferies Family Department continues to work in full force, albeit from home, and are here to support and advise families in these uncertain times. We can assist parents in communicating and reaching agreements about arrangements for children during this difficult time.

Please contact us today to find out how we can help you to move forward in a way that is comfortable, and safe, for you.

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