5 May 2020
Parents exploiting the coronavirus lockdown to stop a former partner from seeing their children could face court action.
That is according to the head of the family courts in England and Wales, Sir Andrew McFarlane.
He said children should continue to visit parents they do not live with providing both households are healthy.
Parents who live apart from children under the age of 18 can be moved between their homes if they take sensible precautions and do not put their children at risk.
The senior judge warns that those who ignore court orders could end up facing legal action.
He said: “If the parents are acting in a cynical and opportunistic manner, then that’s wrong and the courts will regard it as wrong.”
Phillips director Hayley Eachus, who heads the Family Law team at Phillips Solicitors incorporating Brain Chase Coles has had numerous enquires from parents concerned that their former partners are using the coronavirus to abuse the system.
Hayley said: “Taking your children to see the other parent and picking them up is currently deemed as essential travel, if this can be done safely.”
“If you cannot allow any direct contact because of health concerns based on public health guidance, such as when someone in your household is showing symptoms of COVID-19 or a child may have one of the underlying health conditions which make them more vulnerable, then you should consider allowing the other parent to speak to your child or children via the telephone, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.”
She added: “It is after all in the best interests of your children to have a good relationship with both parents.”
During these difficult times our Town Gate office in Basingstoke is temporarily closed to visitors unless by prior appointment when meeting in person is essential. However, thanks to our lawyers being able to work remotely, Phillips remains fully open for business and can discuss your legal matters by telephone and video conference.
This article is current at the date of publication set out above and is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.
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