Child Contact Arrangements At Christmas & COVID 19

  • Author: Gemma Thew
  • Posted on: 24th November 2020
  • Posted in: Blog

How To Manage Christmas Child Contact Arrangements During The Pandemic

This year has been an exceptionally challenging time for separating and divorced families. Not only do parents have to navigate the usual complexities of dealing with child contact arrangements, the coronavirus pandemic has also added an extra layer of stress and confusion when considering how child contact arrangements will work. 

What Are Your Responsibilities 

For children affected by separation or divorce, having a regular routine can help them to feel safe and secure during what is often a very unsettling time, and although this has been made more difficult with the two national lockdowns this year it is important to try where possible to keep some consistency with contact arrangements.

If child contact arrangements are being made during lockdown then here are a few key points to remember which will help keep you and your family safe:

  • Children should not be moved between homes if anyone in either household has coronavirus symptoms. If anyone in either household is 'at risk' and shielding, then moving children between homes should be avoided where possible. 
  • Your child's other parent can form part of your social bubble to make contact easier.
  • Parents should keep a digital or written record of any arrangements, this can be emails, text messages, or a written and signed agreement which should also detail any changes to the routine. 
  • If it is not safe for your child/children to see their other parent, then alternative contact arrangements should be made. This can be in the form of virtual contact using a digital platform such as What's App video, Skype, Face-Time, telephone or email. 

At the moment it is unclear as to whether or not the second lockdown will be lifted in time for Christmas, but we remain hopeful that restrictions will ease. Whether or not you are in lockdown, sticking to the advice above can ensure there is contact with both parents which is really important when thinking about what is best for the children. This will only differ if it is deemed unsafe for a child to have contact with a parent. 

If you are having difficulty agreeing to contact arrangements, then family mediation can be organised which can help resolve disputes and prevent court action which can be a lengthy, costly and stressful process.

If mediation does not work, a child contact order may need to be put in place, this means that the courts will focus on a few key factors which consider the welfare of the child/children involved and this will decide the outcome of where the child/children will reside (live) and their contact with others.

Further Advice

If you need more advice on child contact arrangements please get in touch with us to discuss your matter confidentially. Our family law team have a wealth of experience and can talk you through your options to move towards a positive outcome. Call us on 01273 734 600 or email advice@crosbywoods.co.uk