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Coronavirus and the issues it raises about contact for separated parents

It is a sad truth that many separated parents do not altogether trust each other and Covid-19 is making these relationships even more fragile with children often caught in the middle.

This article is for parents who are dealing with child contact and parenting time issues during the Coronavirus pandemic. We outline some points that should be considered and preferably discussed to ensure that all parties are aware of what will happen in each eventuality to avoid any distress in a very fast moving, stressful situation.

  1. The Coronavirus should not be used as a weapon for stopping contact. If this happens then it is likely that the family court in Jersey will not be sympathetic to this argument.
  2. If one parent is self-isolating with the children then for that period it will be appropriate for physical contact with the separated parent to stop. However, this does not mean all face to face contact ceases and steps must be taken to ensure that the separated parent and the children have plenty of FaceTime or Skype contact, for example;
  3. Consideration also needs to be given to any particular risks there might be if any of the children are vulnerable because of other illness. There could also be enhanced risks that need to be considered, if, for example, either parent works in the healthcare sector;
  4. Parents should give very careful thought to which, if any, other family members, also have contact with the children. Elderly or sick relatives, might be put at risk by seeing the children;
  5. Thought also needs to be given as to where the contact takes place. Entertainment venues and most restaurants are now closed so it is difficult to find suitable places for contact. On a sunny day then, of course we have the beaches and at the moment our parks remain open but the likelihood is that the weather will not always be beautiful over the next few months;
  6. Always make sure that the children and parents practice social distancing. Younger children may find this particularly challenging.

The important thing is to ensure that contact takes place safely and conflict between separated parents is kept to a minimum.

Our Family Law team remains fully operational during this time and is contactable via email or phone, walks ins are suspended at this time. Call 632267 or email family@viberts.com for advice on child contact and residence issues.

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