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Divorced parents must put children first in Covid-19 crisis

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Divorced and separated parents are being urged to put their children’s health first and re-think custody arrangements as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Children can continue to move between their parents’ homes despite the recently imposed government lockdown, but this should change if the child or one of the parents develops symptoms and has to self-isolate.

That is the advice from Midlands lawyer Rupinder Nandra, who said that even though the new coronavirus guidance recently announced by the Family Courts allow shared custody arrangements to continue, parents needed to think about what was best for their children.

The associate solicitor at law firm mfg Solicitors has been contacted by numerous parents wanting to know their rights during the unprecedented restrictions on people’s movements.

She said: “It is very difficult for divorced and separated parents to see their children during the current lockdown which restricts so many of us from going out for more than basic essentials and exercise.

“Although the Family Courts have made clear that children whose parents do not live together can move between their two homes, this is a time when everyone must act responsibly in the interests of themselves, the rest of the community and, of course, their children.”

If anyone in a household develops symptoms of coronavirus, such as a continuous cough or a high temperature, everyone in the household has to self-isolate for 14 days.

Ms Nandra said this is the point at which parents needed to use their common sense, put any differences aside, and devise contact arrangements appropriate for the situation especially for the parent that is not self-isolating.

“If parent and children are self-isolating, as advised by the government, then that means the other parent will have to accept indirect contact via video chats on Skype or FaceTime,” she said.

“This is not about either parent gaining more or less time with their children. It is the only way to prevent the virus spreading.”