COVID-19 and Child Arrangements

The mother/father of my child has blocked contact because of coronavirus, what can I do?

The Government guidance is clear:

“Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes”

As you will undoubtedly be aware, because of COVID-19, the Government has told us all to stay at home.  There are 4 exceptions to this rule, which provides for when a person can leave their home and at present these are:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  2. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle-alone or with members of your household.
  3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

The Government guidance notes extends the exceptions outlined above to those parents who are separated, however, if someone else in that household either has, or shows symptoms of COVID 19 then everyone else in that household will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

For a complete set of government guidance notes, please click on the link below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others/full-guidance-on-staying-at-home-and-away-from-others

My child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, I am worried that if I let him go and see his Father that I am putting my son at risk and if I don’t let him go, I am in breach of a Child Arrangements Order?

If your child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, you should seek medical advice and follow Government guidelines.

The expectation from the Family Courts and Cafcass (Child Advisory and Family Support Service) are that you are sensible in any arrangements for your child and that your child is kept safe.  If your situation is genuine and you have to self-isolate, ask yourself this - what have you proposed and agreed with the non-resident parent as an alternative for face to face contact?  Perhaps you could try indirect contact for the time being; Skype, WhatsApp facetime, Zoom or maybe telephone, if appropriate.

It is understandable that you are worried for your child in the current climate, the advice in respect of child arrangements is to simply be pragmatic and sensible, maintaining your child’s routine is probably one of the best things you can do for them right now.

Here is a link to offer you more guidance;

https://www.nfm.org.uk/new-service-co-parenting-through-the-coronavirus-crisis/

For more detailed advice, specific to your case, please contact the family team at Rowberry Morris in Reading, Staines or Tadley - your lawyers for life.