Making your contact arrangement work during the coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge effect on everyday life – including contact arrangements for the children of separated parents. Working together to agree necessary changes can go a long way towards easing these difficulties.

Below, you’ll find seven practical tips to help make your contact agreement work under current conditions.

1. Use Zoom, WhatsApp, FaceTime, and Skype. These digital services can keep you close even when you’re far away. And parents may want to agree that these calls should take place more regularly than they used to.

2. If regular contact is a problem, try setting aside some time so that your child can make a video for the parent they can’t visit.

3. If children can still move safely between their parents’ homes, agree new rules over what is appropriate during visits. For example, is it appropriate to take the children to the supermarket, or to a local park? If so, what counts as appropriate supervision?

4. Now that schools are closed, it is important to agree what learning expectations are. Draw up a daily timetable for schoolwork that each parent will be able to follow, taking into account their own work commitments. Most schoolwork is online but if it’s not, and the children are still moving safely between homes, parents need to make sure that they have access to the books and resources they need.

5.  If one parent is missing out on time with the children, consider agreeing additional holiday time later in the year.

6.  Children need to feel reassured that their parents love them and will be there for them. The current situation will be causing most children anxiety, so it is more important than ever to minimise parental conflict.

7. If you can’t agree on changes to arrangements, consider an urgent telephone/webcam meeting with a mediator or trusted neutral third party.

Sadly, there are many parents for whom communication is difficult or impossible. If an agreement cannot be reached, or one parent feels that they are being unfairly excluded, an application can still be made to court. 

The Court will be dealing with hearings remotely. However, this is very much a last resort and specialist legal advice should be obtained before making an application to enforce an existing arrangement or make a new one.

If you would like to discuss any of the matters raised above, please contact David Lee or a member of our Family Team on 01926 852188 or david@davidleesolicitors.co.uk

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not and should not be taken as legal advice.

The Content of this article is reproduced from an article provided by Resolution. 

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