If someone in the household is high risk and following the 12 week shielding guidance, parents should explore between them whether contact should continue.
Health must come first. If it is decided that direct contact should be stopped for health reasons, parents should maintain indirect contact and explore using options such as Facetime, WhatsApp video calls and Zoom.
If there are no medical issues within either household and neither household is self-isolating, children should maintain their usual routine of spending time with each of their parents and Child Arrangement Orders should be followed as closely as possible.
If you have an informal arrangement and the other parent is refusing contact, then you can make an application to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order.
If you have a Child Arrangement Order in place, you can make an emergency application to the court to enforce this. Please get in touch via the enquiry form below if you think this will be necessary and we will be able to advise further.
If there are no medical issues or self-isolation issues within the household, children should maintain their usual routine and spend time with each of their parents in person.
If a household is self-isolating or following shielding advice, parents should find alternative ways of indirect contact, such as Facetime, Zoom or WhatsApp video call.
If a parent is refusing any contact, you can make an application to the court, either to enforce an existing Child Arrangements Order or to make an application for a new Child Arrangements Order. Please get in touch with us via the enquiry form below if you need further advice on this.
The government has confirmed that travel from one parent's home to the other parent's home is classed as essential travel for children under the age of 18.
When transporting children between their homes, parents should ensure that they follow the latest government guidelines on social contact:
- parents should travel by car and avoid public transport where possible - if public transport is not avoidable, follow the government social distancing guidelines of maintaining 2 metre distance from other people and washing hands on arrival at home
You will need to speak with Child Maintenance Service (CMS) specifically about your case.
However, as a general rule, if your income has decreased then so will your child maintenance payments. If you also pay spousal maintenance following a divorce, you may need to apply to the Court to vary your financial Court Order.
The short answer is yes. The government has confirmed that children under 18 can be moved between their two parents.
The terms of a Child Arrangement Order will still apply and should continue to be followed unless to do so presents a risk to the child or another person. If anyone in either household is showing any symptoms of coronavirus then common sense should prevail. It is in nobody's interest for the virus to be spread between households.
In addition, if anyone in either household is in the 'very high risk' category, then you may need to consider whether contact should continue. Health must come first. Make sure you communicate with the other parent about any symptoms and continue to support indirect contact such as by Facetime or Skype.
If handovers are due to take place in a public place, this should continue but they should be done somewhere like a car park with lots of space where you will not come within two meters of other people, and where the child can be safely transported from one car to another.
Alternatively, one parent should be responsible for collecting and dropping off the child for contact and they should drop the child outside of the other parent's house (without going in to the house) and watch the child go in.
If your local centre has closed, then the handover will not be able to take place at present. Do however make use of indirect contact (such as telephone and video calls) to ensure that relationships are maintained and the impact on the child is reduced.
If one parent is showing symptoms of coronavirus and is self-isolating, then it would not be wise for your child to go and spend time with them. After the period of isolation has ended (14 days after symptoms first began), the child can begin spending time with both parents again.
The government has stated that children under the age of 18 can be moved between their parents' home. This means that the usual contact arrangements should continue, save for when there is a medical reason for this not to happen.
If the other parent unreasonably will not return the child to you, you can make an emergency application to the court to enforce your Child Arrangement Order. Please do get in contact via the form below if you have questions about doing this.
The usual child arrangements should continue where possible and if there is no medical reason to vary the arrangements. Children can still travel between their parents' houses and it would appear that this is regardless of whether or not there is an official Order in place.
If the other parent will not cooperate with you, you can make an application to the Court for a Child Arrangement Order. Please get in touch via the form below if you would think this will be necessary.
The government guidance says that children moving between there parent's homes is classed as essential travel. However, The Family Court have emphasised that this does not mean the children must move between homes if the parents do not feel it is safe for them to do so because of their health. The Family Court encourage parents to communicate their concerns openly with one another and putting the child's health first is a priority.
If there is a Child Arrangements Order in place, the Family Court advises where parents are in agreement as to the best course of action, they are free to vary the child arrangement if they feel it is necessary.
Where parents are not in agreement and where a parent is sufficiently concerned that complying with the Order would be against current government health advice, then the Family Court states that one parent can vary the order to arrangements that they consider is safe. The Court advises that if these decisions are challenged in the Family Court arena, the Court will look at whether the parent acted "reasonably and sensibly" in light of official advice and stay at home rules in place at the time. They will also consider the specific circumstances of the child and family.
If a parent does choose to vary the Order of the court because of the Coronavirus, the spirit of the order should be kept by making safe alternative arrangements for contact, such as using indirect methods such as Facetime, WhatsApp video calls or Zoom.