Covid-19 and Child Arrangements

Sad Child With Large Stuffed Animal

A Child Arrangements Order is an order that regulates with whom a child is to live, spend time or otherwise have contact with any person. Each Child Arrangements Order is decided on the circumstances of the individual family and on what is in the best interests of that particular child.

We have been contacted by parents over the last few weeks who are concerned and confused regarding their rights to see their non-resident children during the current Covid19 outbreak.

Many of these parents already have the benefit of a Child Arrangements Order which was granted following considered and lengthy court proceedings. Now however, parents are finding that despite a court Order in place, the other parent is refusing to adhere to it and is preventing the non-resident parents from having contact with the child or children. The reason they are giving for opposing contact is Covid19.

The current policy on this issue is clear. The Government published guidance on 29 March 2020 which specifically states that “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”

In addition, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, known as CAFCASS has also provided helpful guidance on this issues which can be accessed here. As long as contact can take place safely then it should continue as per the Child Arrangements Order.

What about proceedings that are currently ongoing? There have been some changes to the Court system and most notably the majority of court hearings are being conducted remotely by telephone or video conferencing. In addition, nearly all CAFCASS officers are working remotely. This can be a confusing time and it is important that clients are given advice and guidance from experienced legal representatives.

If you are dealing with a Child Arrangements matter or are experiencing a dispute with your ex-partner about their adherence to an Order then please contact our specialist family lawyers  for a free confidential consultation on 0203 980 9348 or fill in the form for a call back.

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