Child arrangements for separated parents in lockdownFebruary 2nd 2021
There are so many pressures on parents just now. Home-school projects, internet speeds and on-line lessons all add to the stress of working parents. For many of us, ‘survival’ is the main aim of the game.
By Amy Fallows Head of our Family law team.
If you add tension between separated parents to the mix, it is easy to see why child arrangements might break down in lockdown.
The government has made it clear that children can pass between their parents’ homes during lockdown so arguably children’s arrangements should just stay the same. However, as a practising family lawyer, it is clear that, for some children, life has changed considerably. Many children have ended up only seeing one parent.
From practice, I would say that the top three causes of changes to child arrangements during Covid-19 have been:
- Shielding considerations – if one member of the family has had to shield a vulnerable adult or child, then sacrifices have had to be made. For some parents (particularly those who are highly exposed to Covid risk) this has meant that they have had to resort to online communication with their children only.
- Practical considerations – children are off school and only some working parents can work from home. Many parents have had to alter the arrangements for their children in order to balance their employment obligations and share out the home-schooling burden.
- Historical tensions coming to the surface – if there has been domestic violence in the past or controlling behaviour, parental relationships may be fragile and reliant on third parties (or school) for handover between them. With school out of the equation, the transit of children between parents can break down.
Family solicitors and family courts have been very busy during lockdown, assisting parents in adjusting to the new world. If you have concerns about your children’s arrangements or what is going to happen post-lockdown, it would be sensible to get advice before the restrictions are lifted…
If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of family law please contact Amy Fallows on 01228 585245 or click here to send her an email.