Coronavirus & Child Custody

Coronavirus & Child Custody

In light of the coronavirus, there has been a lot of confusion regarding the rules around families and children during the lockdown. As people should only leave their homes for essential reasons, what does this mean for parents who are separated? Read on to discover more about child custody and the coronavirus. 

What is the official advice?

Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has ordered the country to only leave their homes for essential reasons. However, this has left a bit of room for interpretation. What is deemed ‘essential?’ The government has confirmed that separated parents can still share custody of their children during the lockdown across the United Kingdom.

Where the confusion has stemmed from

The tough restrictions that were announced raised concerns for children who divide their time between two parents, whether as part of a divorce settlement or due to an order by the court. Should the children stay with the parent they are with now for the entire time of the lockdown? Or, can they continue to split their time, as they did before? 

The confusion was only heightened when Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told ITV that children should not be moved from home to home. He later clarified that children could be moved between both their parents. However, it is advisable for movement to be kept to a minimum. 

Thankfully, the government has now made this clear in the guidelines. They have stated that children are allowed to move between separated parents if they are under the age of 18-years-old and this is necessary. 

Do consider your own personal circumstances carefully 

Of course, there does need to be some common sense applied in these cases. If, for example, one parent has underlying health conditions and is at greater risk, it would certainly be better for the child to remain with the other parent for the sake of everyone’s health. While this can be difficult to do, it will certainly be better for everyone overall and could be the difference between life and death. 

Understanding the lockdown restrictions

Under the current lockdown restrictions, people should only leave their homes for four reasons. These are as follows…

  • To go to work, but only when they cannot work from home
  • For a medical need or to take care of someone who is vulnerable
  • To carry out one type of exercise per day
  • Shopping for basic necessities

People are advised to use delivery services whenever possible. However, finding a home delivery slot at the moment is certainly a lot easier said than done!

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the rules and regulations regarding child custody and the coronavirus. We hope that this has helped to clear up what is and is not allowed under the current guidelines. Nevertheless, it should be noted that this is a fluid situation and the rules are changing all of the time, and so we would certainly advise keeping up with the daily government briefings.

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