*Updated 24th March 2020

As everyone is currently aware, the world is a very uncertain place right now. The COVID-19 situation develops by the hour.

The changes to our lives, including the school closures announced yesterday for example, will have a big impact on many families.

Here at Silk Family Law we regularly advise parents on issues concerning arrangements for their children following a separation.

Over the past few days, we have received a number of calls requesting information about contact and arrangements for children, which may be affected by the current situation.

More than ever, in uncertain times like these, it’s important to think about the child’s welfare first and foremost – ask yourself what is in their best interests?

*The government has now confirmed that parents who do not live in the same household are permitted to transport children under age 18 between their houses.

If you are currently grappling with these or other issues, here are my 5 top tips for parents negotiating contact or child arrangements:

  • Put the children at the centre of your plans – if you cannot agree arrangements and have to ask the Court to make a decision, the court’s focus will be on the children and what is best for them.
  • Find sensible and independent advice online. The national charity Gingerbread has a bank of information for single parents and families on its website. The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) represents children in family court cases and provides detailed information and resources for parents, including arranging access.
  • Try and agree the arrangements in a parenting plan. You can download a sample parenting plan from the Cafcass website.
  • If you are both comfortable to do so, using a specialised mediator can help assist in your discussions.
  • Get early advice from a specialist family lawyer so you know where you stand. This might help you to agree arrangements without ending up in Court.

We at Silk Family Law have specialist expertise in assisting parents with the arrangements for their children, post separation. We can help at any stage of your discussions and can assist you to negotiate these, always aiming to achieve the best outcome for you, and – most importantly – your children.

Blog post by Teresa Davidson, partner.