Government guidance suggests that where parents do not live in the same household, children may still move between households but that it is not a necessity. This has caused some confusion amongst families subject to a Child Arrangement Order.
Where coronavirus restrictions result in a change to the contact/care arrangements ordered by the court, the spirit of the order should still be followed. Parents should use their discretion when making any decision. A sensible assessment of the circumstances, including the child’s present health, the risk of infection/transmission and the presence of any recognised vulnerable individuals in one household or the other are all factors that should be considered. The key is to communicate any worries you have to each other and to put the interest of the child and the health of the public first.
Where contact is restricted to one parent, parents are urged to think creatively about alternative arrangements to maintain regular contact via platforms such as Whatsapp, Zoom, Facetime etc.
If court action is brought against one parent for not complying with a Child Arrangement Order, the courts are likely to look at the reasonableness of the parent’s decision-making in light of the family’s specific circumstances and the rules and restrictions in place at that time.
If you would like further advice on your particular circumstances then please do get in touch with our Family team on 0117 962 1205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.