Following government guidelines, families who have separated can look to advice from family law experts about shared contact arrangements for children during COVID-19 self-isolation.

The latest government announcement from minister for the cabinet office, Michael Gove, outlined the new regulations for shared contact between children and separated parents in his speech yesterday (Monday 23 March).

With the new restrictions involving an Italian-style lockdown involving people staying in their homes apart from a limited range of circumstances – the family law experts at JMP Solicitors have compiled a comprehensive breakdown of the latest advice.

Neil Remnant, head of family law at JMP Solicitors, said: “In this current climate of uncertainty, it is important to understand where we stand in terms of the new curbs and restrictions set out by the government.

“There is a lot of conflicting information out there for families who have separated in terms of contact arrangements at this time of limitation, so we have compiled a simple, comprehensive list of information to help families know where they stand. We hope this will be helpful at this time.”

Here’s a list of everything you need to know about shared contact arrangement at this time:

  • Children under 18

Following the government guidelines on the news this morning, Michael Gove clarified that children under the age of 18 could still go ahead and continue with court orders and contact arrangements with each parent, and travel to facilitate this should be allowed.

  • Exceptions

Unless there is actual illness in the house, then court orders are still in force, as are contact agreements. If the child is in a vulnerable group, for example; if they are less abled or have underlying health issues, then the child will have to stay in one place.

  • Keep up contact if unable to move

If contact cannot be continued for any reason, it is not unreasonable to try and make other arrangement for the next few weeks through facetime, video calls and/or Skype to minimise disruption and ensure children and parents are able to communicate.

  • Court time

It is highly unlikely that court time will be available over the next few weeks to enforce orders, therefore members of the public should do their best to reach an agreement, as it is in the interests of the children for contact to continue.

For any further enquiries or family legal advice about this matter, please contact head of family law, Neil Remnant, at JMP Solicitors – NRemnant@jmp-solicitors.com or call 01476 565 295.

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