COVID-19 - experiencing issues and need help with your child arrangements?

We are currently living in very difficult and unprecedented times. Covid-19 is impacting all walks of life and the Family Courts are understandably currently prioritising those cases where a child faces the imminent risk of harm, or emergency cases involving incidents of Domestic Violence and abuse.

We as a country are being asked to stay at home, to home-school our children (if we are not key workers) and to limit the contact that we are having with our loved ones who live elsewhere.

This poses a very difficult question for separated families, parents who have either recently ended their relationships, and for those who have gone through the court process and have a Child Arrangements Order in place to outline the co-parenting care arrangements for their children.

  • What do you do if your children (or you yourself) become unwell?
  • What happens if one parent stops the contact?
  • We are already in Court, will our Hearings take place?
  • What about Skype/Facetime calls instead?

You may have seen guidance from Government ministers, and within the legal profession, Judges have provided their views on what Parents need to consider in these very difficult situations.

Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service or CAFCASS for short, has produced some very helpful (and family friendly) assistance to those families that find themselves having to make decisions in respect of the contact arrangements for their children during this period: https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/covid-19-guidance-for-children-and-families/

The overriding theme from all of the guidance that has been produced in the last few days, is that Parents need to continue to put their children’s welfare and safety first. Compromise is key, and in some situations it may be that an alternative method of contact (via the telephone or video for example) may be needed in the interim until our world gets back to some kind of normality.

If you need help or advice on this, or any other issue, from any of our family team, please call 0800 118 1500, or email Anna Robinson

During these challenging times, all our legal and support teams are working remotely, but rest assured that we still aim to provide the same excellent level of service, whether we communicate by phone, email or video calls.