Coronavirus - How the lockdown affects child contact arrangements

The fight against COVID-19 has seen the Government impose much more stringent measures which is having serious implications on our everyday lives.

Despite some initial confusion the government has made clear that children under 18 can be moved between parent’s homes. This means that contact arrangements previously in place either by agreement or Court Order should continue. This will come as a welcome relief to many parents who have worried that the recent restrictions imposed by the government will limit their ability to see their children.

It is important that a parent does not see the current situation as an opportunity to frustrate contact. This is unlikely to do them any favours in the eyes of the Court in the long run and in reality will be potentially more damaging for the children whose lives have already been disrupted in these challenging times.

However, parents should be mindful of their own particular circumstances and ensure that the welfare of the children remains the most important consideration. Parents will need to give thought as to how this can work for their family, whilst ensuring everyone’s safety and helping to limit the spread of COVID-19.

We all must be mindful that it may be necessary for a parent or children to self isolate. The handover arrangement may need to be changed if for example it has been to and from school. The vulnerability of other individuals in one household or the other may need to be taken in to account. The likelihood is that there is going to be conflict between the arrangement in place and the need to limit the children’s movements. In such cases it is important to discuss how contact with the children’s other parent will be maintained e.g. FaceTime, Skype or other video contact can be promoted.

We understand that it is not always possible for parents to effectively communicate and agree an arrangement for their children. Please contact us if you need help or further advice.

WN has a crisis team who have self-isolated and are working from home in order to meet the needs of our clients.

For contact, childrens or other family matters please contact family@wilson-nesbitt.co.uk or telephone  0800 840 1363. Or to arrange for one of our family law specialists to contact you at a time of your convenience click here.