20 Mar 2020
The Coronavirus pandemic is impacting on all aspects of our lives.
In these very uncertain and unprecedented times, many separated parents will be concerned about how contact arrangements for their children will be maintained.
We are having to grapple with quite foreign concepts and terminology such as social distancing, self-isolating and lockdown.
Children are having to come to terms with the prospect of being home schooled, missing out on their extra-curricular activities and not seeing their friends.
The next few months will see parents and children facing quite novel challenges and there will no doubt be some testing times.
"Providing reassurance, stability and security for children will be crucial. Children can struggle with significant change and they will be apprehensive and fearful about what the future holds. Trying to maintain routine and consistency will be important.
"The situation is constantly developing and it is not yet clear what a ‘lockdown’, if/when it comes, will mean in reality.
"What will happen in cases where children have two homes, one with each parent? Will they be able to move between both houses and maintain direct relations with both parents and any siblings or step siblings?
"Whatever happens, it is vital that parents communicate well and work together to ensure that the best interests of their children are prioritised, to limit the ‘fear factor’ for them and to keep spirits up. These are unchartered territories for all of us.
"Children generally benefit from maintaining regular direct contact with both parents and their extended families but if direct contact becomes impossible, perhaps due to controls implemented by the Government or due to illness, then parents will need to be creative, flexible and accommodating."
Ruth added: "In this digital age, there are many ways of easily maintaining indirect contact, even for very young children. Contact can be maintained by means such as telephone, post, text message, email, social media, online Apps, FaceTime, Skype and audio/video conferencing.
"Think about recording fun and entertaining videos or blogs for sending to your children. Encourage children to record videos or voice messages for parents who are apart from children. Parents with care of the children could help them to draw pictures and write letters or cards for sending to the other parent. Consider reading books/bedtime stories and playing games with children over FaceTime, Skype or Video Conference. Older children may play online interactive group games.
"Be resourceful and cooperative. Try to avoid exposing children to conflict and niggles. The welfare, safety and happiness of the children should always be the priority."
At Aberdein Considine, we understand that family law situations such as divorce, separation and disputes involving children can be incredibly difficult and emotional for everyone involved.
Our specialist team of family lawyers are dedicated to providing a sensitive, effective and efficient legal support service to across Scotland.
They can help you overcome the difficult emotions often involved in the breakdown of a relationship to find the best solutions for you and your family.