The courts and tribunals service has issued advice to parents with children who are subject to a Child Arrangements Order (CAO) made by the Family Court. Government guidance states that despite current Stay at Homes rules in place in the UK, “where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes”.
Parents are advised by the Courts to make a decision on whether a child should move between parental homes based on circumstances including the child’s health, risk of infection and whether any vulnerable individuals live in either household. Guidance states that parents should communicate over the best way to deal with the current situation and keep a record of their decision in a note, email or text message. “Where parents, acting in agreement, exercise their parental responsibility to conclude that the arrangements set out in a CAO should be temporarily varied they are free to do so,” it states.
However, if one parent is concerned that complying with the CAO arrangements would be against current government advice, then that parent may exercise their parental responsibility and vary the arrangement to one that they consider to be safe, the advice states.It adds that if this action is questioned in a family court, the court is likely to “look to see whether each parent acted reasonably and sensibly in the light of the official advice and the Stay at Home rules in place at that time, together with any specific evidence relating to the child or family”.
If a child is unable to see one parent during the crisis, plans for contact over programme such as Skype and Facetime must be established, the guidance states.