Covid-19 Second Lockdown & Contact With Your Children
So here we are again in another lockdown! It may only be for 4 weeks – we hope! – but questions are still asked about whether children, whose parents have separated, can see both parents in this lockdown.
So here is a reminder of the rules:
Can I Still Have Contact With My Children?
The simple answer is yes. The lockdown restrictions do not prevent children from going between parents, so in effect moving between two households. They can also stay overnight at the other parent’s home. When at the other parents home they become a member of their household so social distancing rules will not apply – you do not need to keep 2 metres away from your children and can give them a hug.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Travelling to the other parent – travelling needs to be limited as much as possible and try to avoid using public transport. Walking or cycling could be an option if the 2 homes are not too far apart.
You can take your children out such as to the park or for a walk but you need to observe social distancing with anyone you may meet.
Other activities that you can do outside of your home will be very limited due to shops, restaurants, leisure facilities and soft play centres all being closed.
I’m Only Allowed Contact At A Contact Centre – What Can I Do?
Unfortunately, the contact centres will probably be closed. It is important for children to keep in touch so other forms of contact such as telephone or video could be used. Sending small presents and perhaps writing an old-fashioned letter can be a way of staying in touch. Social media has been a blessing to most people during lockdown but make sure that your children are safe and you use sites that aren’t open to the public.
What If My Ex Won’t Allow Me To Have Contact?
It is important for children to keep seeing both their parents, if it is safe to do so.
If your children have to self-isolate, for instance if they or someone they live with have Covid-19 symptoms then it would not be appropriate for contact to take place and your children cannot move between households until the self-isolation period is at an end. The same applies of you have to self-isolate.
Your children’s other parent may feel that they or the children need to shield because of health reasons. If they have received a letter from the NHS advising them or the children to shield then this would be a reason to stop direct contact.
If direct contact can no longer take place because of self-isolating or shielding alternatives such as telephone or video calls should be offered.
Lockdown may mean that the normal arrangements, even if in a court order, cannot work. The courts would prefer parents to try to sort the arrangements for their children between themselves in a sensible way. We can help you with this and it is better to try to resolve problems before taking the step of issuing a court application.
If you need any help in agreeing arrangements for contact or want further information then please contact a member of our family team on freephone 0800 011 6666.