Unprecedented Arrangements: Managing Child Arrangements in Lockdown

Following the announcement of the increased restrictions on Monday evening, members of the public should only leave the house to:-

  • Shop for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible;
  • Exercise, once per day;
  • Obtain necessary medical care, or to provide care or help to a vulnerable person; and/or
  • Travel to/from work (where absolutely necessary)

What do you do, however, if your family does not live under the same roof and your children live with parents who have separated, particularly where there is an order in place about where the children live, and spend their time?

Fortunately, full guidance from the government (found at https://gov.wales/full-guidance-staying-home-and-away-others) confirms that:-

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

Where you have an agreed arrangement in place for the children, or if there is a child arrangement order setting out the living arrangements, and the amount of time that the children spend with either parent, then these arrangements should continue.

If the children, or either parent, displays symptoms of Coronavirus then steps should be taken to isolate the children to avoid risk of the virus spreading further, in accordance with government guidelines, as follows:-

  • If your child(ren) is (are) the first to develop symptoms in the home, then they must stay at home for 7 days. (all other members of the household, must stay at home, and not leave the house, for 14 days);
  • for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.

In these circumstances, suspension of the agreed/ordered child arrangements will be necessary and should be communicated to the other parent at the earliest opportunity.

During this time, indirect contact with the other parent (i.e. regular telephone/video calls) could be arranged as an alternative, and regular updates on the children’s health and wellbeing provided.

Following the period of isolation, the child arrangements should resume.

If you have any questions about the impact of Coronavirus on arrangements for the children please feel free to contact our Family Team on 02920 345511 or 01656 645525. or by email family@berrysmith.com