By now, most of us are familiar with the rules of social distancing – including what constitutes acceptable daily exercise or an essential journey – and how long to self-isolate if a household member develops symptoms of COVID-19.
However, if you share parental responsibility for a child with an ex-partner, that can complicate matters. Is it acceptable to travel to hand over the child in line with previously existing arrangements? What if you or your ex-partner is self-isolating?
There are simple answers to some of these questions, and more challenging answers to others, but we are here to help you decide on the best course of action.
First of all, it’s important to know that you are allowed to travel to take your child to their other home, so throughout this pandemic, any existing arrangements can remain in place.
This exemption to the ‘stay at home’ rules is not mentioned very often, but the government have clearly stated that it is permitted, so there should be no reason why one parent must go through this difficult time without seeing their child.
But if things are amicable between you and your ex-partner, you might want to consider reducing the number of handovers so that you travel back and forth less often.
If one parent displays symptoms of Coronavirus – chiefly a new and persistent dry cough or a fever – it is important for them to self-isolate for seven days, or until their symptoms have cleared up.
Other members of the household should self-isolate for 14 days. The extra seven days are to allow time for symptoms to develop, if you have only just become infected.
This raises some difficult questions. If your children have travelled between your homes within the past few weeks, you are essentially a single ‘household’ and should all self-isolate.
It makes sense for the children – if they are not displaying any symptoms – to spend those 14 days with the parent who is also not apparently infected.
This not only protects them from infection, but also means the infected parent does not have to look after them at a time when they may feel very unwell and low on energy.
Marcia Mediation are set up to offer remote recommendations on co-parenting. We have always offered remote mediation sessions, but especially at this time we are ‘meeting’ more clients virtually via Zoom, Skype and other methods, rather than face-to-face.
This is especially useful if you need remote co-parenting assistance during self-isolation, as you and your ex-partner can participate in the call from separate locations, assuming they are well enough to do so.
COVID-19 has changed many people’s way of life in a very short time and that is bound to put new strain on previously amicable relationships – but we can all adapt to cope with those pressures.
Whether you co-parent in separate houses or still live in the same property as your ex-partner for financial or other reasons, we can help you to be flexible in your arrangements so that your children stay safe, while still spending the right amount of time with each parent.