Maintaining contact with children during Covid-19
If you are a parent to children who do not live in the same household as one of their parents, or where care is shared between the two parents in separate households you may be wondering how they can maintain relationships with both parents during the Covid-19 situation.
Can children travel between households?
The Government’s guidance states that we should all stay at home except for the following reasons:-
• Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, as infrequently as possible.
• One form of exercise a day, alone or with members of your household
• Any medical need, or to care for or help a vulnerable person
• Travelling to and from work, but only where this work absolutely cannot be done from home
HOWEVER, where parents do not live in the same household, the Government’s advice is that children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes. Of course, they should NOT do so if they are showing symptoms of the virus or are otherwise required to self-isolate.
The rules on self-isolation and any restrictions advised by medical professionals will ALWAYS take priority!
Should we stick to existing arrangements?
There are generally good reasons to keep as close to existing arrangements as possible. However, for the duration of Covid-19 you might want to consider ways in which the arrangements can be altered to cut down on unnecessary travel. This might include:-
• Having fewer periods of contact, even if this means amalgamating shorter periods into longer ones.
• Replacing overnight contact involving longer journeys with trips to the park close to home for exercise.
• More use of Skype, Facetime and similar apps.
It is important that parents try to reach agreement on any changes to the usual arrangements and that the views of the children are properly taken into account.
What if there is a Court Order?
Generally, the same considerations will apply even if there is a Court Order regulating the residence of and contact with the children. The Courts have issued guidance for parents of children who are the subject of Court orders. This guidance can be found here – https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/default-document-library/guidance-on-compliance-with-family-court-orders-27-03-20.docx?sfvrsn=0
Can Morgans Help?
Our Court solicitors, Brian Tait and Russel McPhate can be contacted on the numbers and email addresses below. They will be able to advise you with any issues you may have with contact arrangements.