The Head of the Family Courts has stated that children should continue to visit parents they do not live with providing both households are healthy, he has further stated that those who do not comply could face legal action. This legal action may not even be delayed until after the lockdown is lifted.
If you have children who are under the age of 18 and are separated from your partner then you need to ensure that you are not, as the Head of the Family Courts states, being “cynical and opportunistic” and refusing the other parent to see the child. Conversely, the other parent should also not be preventing you from seeing the child on the basis of the lockdown either.
Whilst in many cases trust has broken down between the parents and they may not believe that the other parent is being truthful with regard to health or risks, the movement of children between the parental homes is permitted and should only be withheld in the interests of the safety of the child.
These need to be legitimate reasons. The Courts are able to sanction those who flout Court Orders or who use the children as a “weapon” against the other parent.
In the event that movement is not possible then there is also an active encouragement to allow the children to see the other parent in other ways, Facetime, Zoom calls, regular telephone calls and messages. Overall the guidance is that if you should be acting in the best interests of your child even if it goes against something that you want to do.
If you are concerned that you are not seeing your child then our Family Team can help with trying to resolve the problem, the Courts remain open (albeit on a reduced scale) and it is still possible to seek enforcement of Court Orders; our Family Team can provide more specific advice for your circumstances if necessary.
If you are concerned about the fact that you may have to move your child between two houses and that they may have to spend time with the other parent, if these are legitimate concerns then ensure you document them and then speak to your Family Lawyer. Our Family Team can also assist you and are working hard to help all our clients.
Our Family Team remains available during normal working hours for contact by telephone and by email and are able to provide full assistance even while our physical offices are closed to the public. They can be contacted on 01892 824 577 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org