None of us wanted 2021 to start with the announcement of a third national lockdown but with a vaccine roll out underway, we hope that 2021 be a better year for all of us. In the meantime as the country continues to tackle Covid-19 in lockdown three, we thought it would be useful to have a reminder of the rules and the ways in which they impact on families.
Family Solicitor, Elizabeth Dowler discusses the three key areas in her latest article.
Children moving between households of separated parents
Where parents of children do not live together, children may continue to move freely between the homes of both parents without contravening the lockdown rules. However, this is not always straightforward for many families, particularly with parents living in different countries or where a family member is shielding.
On 24 March 2020, the President of the Family Division issued guidance to separated parents making clear that while children can move between households it does not mean they must do so. Parents are encouraged to communicate openly in order to make a “sensible assessment” of the circumstances, including the child’s health, the risk of infection and the vulnerability of members of both households.
When it isn’t appropriate for a child to move between their parents, it can be helpful to have discussions about how this can be managed; for instance, extra video calls can help the child stay in contact with their other parent. You could also consider offering extra contact time when circumstances allow it.
Support and childcare bubbles remain part of the lockdown arrangements. Support bubbles allow single adults or single parents of children who are under 18 to form a support bubble with another household.
Childcare bubbles allow families with children under
14 (or vulnerable adults) to form a childcare bubble with another household for informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare that can take place in either or both of the two homes.
The pressures of lockdown and the impact of this on domestic abuse have been widely reported. Government advice makes very clear that household isolation rules do not apply where there is a need to leave home to escape domestic abuse. It is important to remember that domestic abuse is not limited to physical abuse but also includes, for example, coercive control, emotional, sexual, verbal and financial abuse.
Whatever your circumstances, and whatever problems may arise, it is important to keep two points firmly in mind: focus on what is in the best interests of any children and do all you can to keep yourselves and others safe.
If you need advice at this time on what is best for your family please contact Elizabeth on 01225 750 000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org we are here to help.