Child Arrangements for Lockdown,
Christmas and Beyond
Angharad Bentley, family law specialist at Farleys Solicitors, gives her advice to families navigating the festive period and further restrictions
At the time of writing, England has entered a four-week lockdown expected to end before the run up to Christmas. This time, educational establishments are set to remain open alongside essential businesses, but as with the uncertain nature of this whole pandemic, the situation could well be completely different by the time you are reading this.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen next, making it an understandably tough time for families, particularly those who have taken the decision to separate this year and those who are divorcing and trying to manage care arrangements for their children via shared care.
The Christmas holidays are already a big catalyst for divorce and childcare disputes and this is expected to be exacerbated by current events, creating a perfect storm. This can, however, be avoided by considering the simple tips below.
Try and keep to a routine
This advice has been given over and over again but keeping your child arrangements in a set routine as far as possible can avoid unnecessary stress, anxiety and disruption for the children.
Of course, with the changing restrictions, this isn’t always possible but where it is, it definitely should be tried.
Stay informed on restrictions
Whenever new restrictions are introduced by the government, the position on child contact and shared care is usually clarified a short time later by Parliament on its website. This will state whether it is permitted for children to move between households as an exception to any no meeting up rule.
Keep the channels of communication open
It is important that whatever happens, you try and keep each other informed of any changes to your circumstances.
For example, if you or your child/children are forced to isolate, you should inform your ex-partner at the earliest opportunity to discuss how this will affect their contact and for how long it is expected to last. If your child/children are unable to spend time with their other parent, arranging a phone call or video call can ensure they are still able to communicate.
Seek professional advice
If you are having difficulty reaching an agreement over child contact or need clarification on your legal rights, our family law team at Farleys are on hand to discuss your situation. Throughout the pandemic, we have assisted hundreds of families in Lancashire and across the North West with their legal matters and are committed to continuing to do so.
To speak to a member of the team please call: 01254 368040, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: farleys.com