The Coronavirus pandemic has created a great deal of uncertainty for us all. During this difficult time, emotions are running high and placing an enormous amount of strain on our daily lives and relationships. If your relationship was already under pressure, home life may have become even more difficult over the last few weeks.
The question for separated families, in particular those with children, is what the effect of the ‘Stay at Home Rule’ has on separated families and those who have previously been subject to a Child Arrangement Order, parenting plan, or a care plan providing for contact between children and parents. Sir Michael Gove, senior Government minister, was able to give some clarity to this on 24 March following the Prime Minister’s message to the nation telling us to stay at home. “Children of separated families are permitted to move between separated parents.” he said. Trying to keep to the same routine during this period might prove a challenge particularly if members of one household have symptoms and need to self isolate. The guidance really has to be to do what is best for the child, their health and wellbeing.
Whilst significant attention has been on how to deal with self-isolation and social distancing, for those individuals who are in a marriage or relationship they no longer want to be in, these weeks will seem even longer. Beginning the process of separation doesn’t have to go on hold. Information and support is available. We also have the benefit of time on our hands and (for some) less pressure of rigid working hours. One suggestion would be to use this time to plan either together if you can do so amicably or with support from friends and family. A few words of caution from a voice of experience – these challenging times of COVID-19 will pass, be mindful of the in the way you behave and communicate now. Ask yourself, am I feeling this way because of the current circumstances or was I already needing to end this relationship before COVID-19.
We are here to help. If you would like to arrange an appointment to speak with one of family lawyers, then please get in touch.