The current national public health situation is throwing up some novel issues on my current cases, especially those relating to arrangements for children to spend time with separated parents.
The Prime Minister’s direction in his speech last night was that people should not be meeting family or friends that do not live in the same household. How this applies to contact arrangements for children to spend time with the parent, with whom they do not reside, is not entirely clear. The guidance states that ‘leaving the house’ is permitted for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person which, where applicable, includes moving children under 18 between their parents’ homes.
Does this extend to normal contact arrangements? What if one or both families are self isolating?
I have some Court Hearings in the coming days that will have to consider the application of this point which is yet another consequence of ‘social distancing’ during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is not an easy time for anyone: health and finances are being scrutinised on a personal level and social interaction is taking on new forms thanks to the use of technology to maintain contact and prevent isolation.
The Family team at BPE are taking responsible precautions and making full use of technology to maintain a ‘business as usual’ situation. Court Hearings are mostly continuing by telephone and video link although some are being adjourned.
If you have any queries about the impact of the current situation on arrangements for the children in your family, please contact one of the team and we will happily advise you based on the court guidance on our recent cases. We can also give practical guidance of how to cope in these challenging and unprecedented times.
These notes have been prepared for the purpose of an article only. They should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice.