News & Legal Updates
Sign up to news & legal updates
Covid-19 is one of the most challenging issues to affect our society. It brings many questions and uncertainties for us all. Separated families are no exception.
One of the big questions being asked over the last few days is: when, and for what purpose, can I leave home? Parents, who share the care of their children, are also asking whether taking children to the house of their other parent for contact is permissible.
Since 23 March 2020 and, at the time of writing, the Government rules, available here, are to leave home only when:
- Shopping for basic necessities (such as food) as infrequently as possible;
- Taking one form of exercise a day;
- Seeking any medical need (or to provide help to a vulnerable person) or;
- Travelling to and from work (which absolutely cannot be done from home).
The Government has clarified however that children under the age of 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes, where their parents do not live together in the same household. When leaving your home to take children to contact you must, of course, follow the rules to socially distance yourself from others by keeping 2 metres apart from those from out with your household and minimise the time spent out of your home.
Travel for contact, and contact itself, is subject to the caveats that if you, or anyone else in your household, have the symptoms of Covid-19, then you and your entire household should follow the rules on self-isolation and stay at home for the required period. The rules on self-isolation are available here. In addition, those who have underlying health conditions or who are vulnerable should also make sure that they follow the rules on shielding which are available here.
Covid-19 clearly means that, for a variety of legitimate reasons, some contact may not take place. That will obviously cause some disappointment for non-resident parents and children. The health and wellbeing of wider society and those most vulnerable is however clearly a priority and so the inevitable disappointment has to be balanced with the wider priority to safeguard public health.
We would encourage parents to work together for the benefit of their children. If contact can safely take place, then it should. Cooperate if you can, and in accordance with Government rules, to share the responsibility of caring for your children. Think also about arrangements which minimise the number of handovers. If contact cannot take place then try and come up with innovative ways for your children to see the parent who doesn’t live with them. Technology, such as Skype and FaceTime, is widely available and is great in allowing those who are self-isolating to stay in touch in these difficult times.
We recognise that cooperation is not always possible and that parents can struggle to agree arrangements with each other. It seems highly unlikely however that parents will have access to the courts for the foreseeable future to regulate or enforce care arrangements.
Above all, be sensible and understanding and take care of yourself and each other.
Matters are, of course, evolving all the time. If you have any questions then please contact the Blackadders Family Law Team, who would be happy to assist.
Blair Duncan, Solicitor
The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.
Blackadders takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the content of this site is accurate and up to date. The site is not, however, intended as a substitute for seeking legal or other professional advice but rather as an informative guide to the services provided by Blackadders and topical legal developments. Site visitors should always seek advice tailored to their specific situation. Consequently, Blackadders accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by anyone acting or failing to act on the basis of information contained on this site. Downloading of material contained on this site is at the user’s own risk and all necessary virus checks must first be carried out by the user. Blackadders is not responsible for the material found on any web sites linked to this one and links to this site may only be made with Blackadders prior consent.
Blackadders owns the copyright in this blog and all material contained on it. The material on this site may be downloaded for personal use only and must not be altered. Otherwise, Blackadders’ written consent is required before any material on this site is reproduced, copied or transmitted in any way.
Information passed to us via this site is kept confidential and will not be disclosed to third parties except if authorised by you or required by law.
© Blackadders LLP 2020
Members of the Law Society of Scotland.
Blackadders Solicitors is a trading name of Blackadders LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in Scotland No SO301600 whose registered office is 30 & 34 Reform Street, Dundee, DD1 1RJ. Reference to a ‘partner’ is to a member of Blackadders LLP.Back to News & Legal Updates