How can the coronavirus outbreak affect child care arrangements?

With the major challenges we are all facing as a result of Covid-19, this will also mean families will face their own set of challenges in these unprecedented times. In this article, we look at some of the issues around separated parents and how they can be best supported in managing arrangements for their children following the new staying at home restrictions.

On 23 March, the government announced new restrictions around measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak and this means requiring people to stay at home and away from others except for very limited purposes.

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities;
  2. One form of daily exercise;
  3. Any medical need or provide care or help a vulnerable person;
  4. Travelling to and from work, only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

 

Schools across the country have now closed for the foreseeable future, and many parents will now be having to find a way to balance working from home while caring for their children. This will pose a greater challenge for those parents who are separated, and many families are now questioning how best they should manage their child arrangements, especially those who are co-parenting or with child arrangement orders.

First and foremost, the government has clarified that where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can see both parents’ and can travel between homes.

While it would be best to keep travel and time outside the home to a minimum and providing you are not self-isolating and it is safe to do so, contact with your child can continue as normal. You may need to make some practical adjustments though to keep in line with social distancing and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone in your household. For example, dropping the children off at the front door or gate when going to the other parents’ house.

You may feel conflicted between keeping yourself and the children safe and going against an agreement or court order. It is more important than ever to ensure that the children continue to have contact with the other parent. In these circumstances it would call for a greater need to be more creative particularly if you are self-isolating. Technology means that you are able to arrange face to face contact, such as via Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and telephone calls between parents.

In these uncharted times, maintaining communication with the other parent is key to finding pragmatic and workable solutions. Now, more than ever, parents need to work together to reach a compromise and support the best interests of their children.

During these unprecedented times, the Alen-Buckley office will be closed until further notice, however, we are still operating ‘business as usual’, and our Family team are available as usual by phone and email. For more information and support, do not hesitate to contact Georgina Suman on 020 8767 8336 or georginasuman@alen-buckley.co.uk.