If you have a child arrangements order in place, or informal arrangements for your children to spend time with you or the other parent, you may be wondering what to do during the coming weeks.
Mr Gove has provided clarification in a tweet last month (24.03.2020) which states that “while children should not normally be moving between households, we recognise this may be necessary when children who are under 18 move between separated parents. This is permissible and has been made clear in the guidance”.
The governments “stay at home guidance” published on 23 March 2020 specifically states “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes”. However, it remains important to adhere to guidelines for travel and isolation if a member of one household has any symptoms of the virus.
Cafcass have also issued guidance that, in these uncertain times, it is beneficial to your children to maintain a sense of routine. Cafcass have also said that “if you have safeguarding concerns about your child, you should raise these with your local authority’s children’s services department”.
Therefore, where possible and safe to do so, the guidance permits you to stick to your children’s usual routine of contact with you and their other parent. This is particularly important if you have a child arrangements order in place, as you could be in breach of the order if you do not comply with the terms of that order.
It is of course open to you and the other parent to reach an agreement on what will happen during the lockdown, and we suggest it is helpful to put any agreement in writing so that you can refer back to this at a future date if necessary.
Due to the ever-changing nature of this pandemic, we would advise that you stay alert to any changes in the guidance. The advice in this blog is based on government information published on the 23rd March, which could be subject to change.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team to receive expert advice on 03331 212345 or firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be pleased to assist. As with most firms, we are largely working remotely to keep our staff and our clients safe but we are fully equipped to deal with your case by telephone / video-link.
We send you and your family our best wishes at this uncertain time.