On October15th 2020, The House of Commons Library published a paper providing advice and answers to key questions advising parents and guardians on maintenance arrangements and access to children.
In line with the recent introduction of the United Kingdom’s three tier coronavirus restriction measures the paper’s main message is, local restrictions should also be consulted. However, there is an exception to the restrictions on meeting family where the gathering is necessary “for the purposes of arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents.”
The President of the Family Division of the High Court (England and Wales)noted that the guidance does not mean that children must move between homes, the decision being one for parents to take after assessing their circumstances.
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In circumstances were a child is required to self-isolate the advice is,alternative arrangements should be made to establish and maintain regular contact between the child and the other parent, for example remotely – by Face-Time, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom or other video connection or, if that is not possible, by telephone.
In regard to child arrangement orders, the guidance states that parents acting in agreement are free to decide.Where Coronavirus restrictions cause the letter of a court order to be varied, the spirit of the order should nevertheless be delivered by making safe alternative arrangements for the child.
The advice on child maintenance is, if maintenance is made in accordance with a court order, individuals should seek qualified legal advice and refer to the contents of their specific order. In line with pre-COVID measures adjustments to child maintenance payments for any paying parent will be made if their gross weekly income has changed by 25%.
For any further advice or assistance on child related matters it is recommended that professional legal advice is sought.