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Coronavirus: The Impact on Separated Parents & Children

Published 25 March 2020

The Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23rd March 2020 increased social distancing measures for the whole of the UK. One of the measures included not seeing family members in other households. This has raised concerns for separated parents across Northern Ireland who operate a shared care arrangement.

The Family Law team at MKB Law has already received numerous enquiries from concerned parents about this matter. On the one hand a parent is concerned about potentially breaching an existing Court Order, but on the other hand, a parent is concerned that the guidance to self-isolate is being used to essentially ignore the current contact arrangements on the ground.

Over the last 24+ hours, the Government has provided ambiguous guidance on this matter which heightened the confusion of parents. However, Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has now confirmed that parents who live separately will be allowed to move children under 18 between houses, provided that they are still adhering to Government guidelines.

This means that contact arrangements, whether by a Court Order or Agreement should continue to take effect. There is no simple answer to suit all families and rather this is something that the parents have to manage. However, it is important for each parent to continue to exercise sound parenting judgment that puts the children first and takes into account the situation of other family members. The welfare of the children must always be the paramount consideration.

MKB Law have an experienced Family Law team who are fully trained Children Order Panel members and who act in the best interest of the children. We would be happy to assist you should you have any queries in relation to the impact of the Coronavirus on contact arrangements. MKB Law will ensure to keep you updated with any further developments on this matter, please continue to follow our blog and social media channels for further updates.

To discuss any of the points mentioned in this article please contact Aine Toner or Karen Edwards in our Family Law team.

 

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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