On 23 March 2020, following the outbreak of the Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, the Prime Minister announced a lockdown, asking people to only leave their house for a limited number of reasons and only with members of their immediate household. Unsurprisingly, this announcement left some co-parenting parents somewhat confused. This confusion was later exacerbated after Michael Gove’s appearance on British morning shows stating that children would not be allowed to move freely between households only to backtrack a few hours later and admit that he was wrong.
Gove later explained that, under the new government guidance, children under 18 will be allowed to move between their parent’s homes if they don’t live in the same household. This of course comes with another set of confusion for co-parenting: how can this be done in the safest way possible for everyone?
The key to success during this lockdown, due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), will be to keep a good line of communication between parents, but also with the children. This is particularly true where one person in one of the co-parenting household gets ill with a Coronavirus symptom. It will be important for both households to follow the guidelines and self-isolate for 14 days.
Where there is a court order in place, determining the co-parenting arrangements, this should be adhered to unless self-isolation is required due to illness. Again, communication with be essential, but for those who do not enjoy a cordial relationship and may experience difficulties in getting the order respected, the courts are still open and will accept urgent applications regarding child-care arrangement. However, these will take time and may not lead to a perfect outcome.
This situation will not be easy for anyone, but it is crucial that every choice made should be in the child’s best interest and it is important to mention that there are many ways to interact with your children if they are not in your household (i.e. facetime, phone calls, etc…) and these should be utilised to ensure everyone’s safety.
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