Family Law Solicitor Michele Noy clarifies the shared custody position during Covid-19.
Despite some initial confusion the Government has made clear that children of parents who are separated can move between households during the coronavirus restrictions.
However, parents should be mindful of their own particular circumstances and ensure that the welfare of their children remains the most important consideration. They should work together to this end and manage their arrangement so as to keep everyone safe.
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 household members may need to be taken into account. The chances are that at some point there is going to be a conflict between the arrangement in place (whether that be by agreement or court order) and the need to limit the children’s movements.
We would remind you that both parents share responsibility for the children and in these difficult and unprecedented times would urge you to work together for the benefit of your children. If your arrangement needs to be changed, you should try to do so by agreement. It may be that you will need to think about more creative means by which a parent and children can maintain their relationship should either have to self-isolate. For example, contact could be maintained by Facetime, Skype, telephone calls, texts, emails.
The situation is uncertain and changing on a daily basis. Parents should be flexible, generous and kind in continuing to co-parent their children whose needs should be firmly placed at the centre of any arrangement that may be agreed during these times.
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 for further advice.