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Child Arrangements After Lockdown

Many parents are concerned as to how the arrangements for their children will be affected as we emerge from the lockdown.

Shielding

Although children of separated or divorced parents were permitted to travel between their respective homes during the lockdown, many parents had to make the difficult decision to limit or stop contact altogether if they, their child or a member of their household was shielding.

Shielding has now ended, which means that contact arrangements can be reinstated between children and their parents.  Theoretically, the contact arrangements should be in line with what was happening prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.  That said, some children may feel anxious about returning to normality if they or one of their parents have been shielding for a considerable period.  On that basis, parents may agree that a brief transition period will be beneficial to help alleviate their children’s worries and ease them back into what was their regular routine.

Travel abroad with children

With the advent of the School summer holidays came concerns from some parents who had agreed in advance of the Covid-19 pandemic that their children could go abroad on holiday with the other parent.  Parents are recommended to follow the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office before finalising any holiday plans, and whilst the government has exempted a number of countries, there will be others where holiday-goers will be required to quarantine for up to 14 days upon their return to the UK.

What can parents do?

As before, parents are encouraged to try and agree upon any variations to the contact or holiday arrangements between themselves.  In the event that this is not possible, mediation or solicitor-led discussions should be the next port of call.  As a final resort, either parent can make an application to court for a Child Arrangements Order or to vary an existing Child Arrangements Order, however it is worth bearing in mind that there are considerable backlogs at court, caused by the Coronavirus, which is delaying hearings from being listed any sooner than 12 weeks from issue.  In such circumstances, parents may do well to consider Child Arbitration as an alternative to litigation.  With Arbitration, the parents will bring their dispute before a fully qualified Arbitrator for resolution.  The Arbitrator is usually a highly experienced Solicitor, Barrister or Judge and to that end, extremely capable of presiding over the matter.  By opting for Arbitration, parties may find that they avoid both the long delays and costs experienced with contested court proceedings.

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3 Hazelgrove Road, Haywards Heath, West Sussex,
RH16 3PH

We do not have public parking at our office but there are pay and display car parks a few minutes walk away on St Joseph's Way and St Wilfred's Way, by the Tesco Express and Orchard Shopping Centre.

If you are using public transport we are a 20 minute walk from Haywards Heath train station and a short walk from a number of bus stops.

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