The coronavirus has had a significant impact on everyone, but with social distancing and isolation in full swing, it can be a particularly confusing situation for separated parents and their children.
The UK is now at a point where lockdown and social distancing are essential to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has had a huge impact on people’s everyday lives — and the operations of many businesses. Although isolation can be tedious, the concept itself is very straightforward. However, for separated parents, the initial coronavirus guidelines raised concerns over the impact on agreed parenting structures.
In this post, we’ll provide a quick yet comprehensive guide for separate parenting during the coronavirus pandemic.
What Are the Official Guidelines for Separate Parenting?
Following the announcement of the UK’s lockdown rules, the government stated children shouldn’t move between two households, as this would compromise the isolation protocol. This announcement was quickly re-addressed, and the current guidance as it stands is as follows: “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under the age of 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”
Stick to Self-Isolation Protocols
To ensure that you can continue to co-parent successfully during the pandemic, it’s essential to follow the government guidelines — even when your children are at your co-parents house. If anyone living in your home develops coronavirus symptoms, that person must stay indoors for a week. Everyone else should stay indoors for two weeks to ensure they haven’t caught the virus. If anyone shows symptoms during this period, they must remain indoors for a further seven days from when the symptoms started.
Although the government hasn’t directly addressed this, if your co-parent has symptoms of the virus, you shouldn’t send your child to their house. And if a vulnerable person (70+ or with a poor immune system) lives in either home, you should isolate them as much as possible, which could mean having your children live in the other house.
Try to Use Public Transport as Little as Possible
When it comes to transporting children between homes, you should follow the same advice as on any other day — avoid non-essential public transport whenever possible, and use the alternative when you can. This might be walking between homes, which also serves an opportunity to get some fresh air and do your daily exercise. If you do have to use public transport, sit away from other passengers and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.
It is strongly advised that anyone over 70, those with an underlying health condition and pregnant women minimise public transport use, so take this into account when you choose who will accompany your child if they are required to travel. There is also additional guidance in place for people with underlying health conditions.
Cooperate and Compromise
At times, co-parenting can be a challenging process, as it requires you to compromise with your co-parent and, sometimes, make decisions you may not be very happy about for the wellbeing of the child or children. The world is currently experiencing a crisis like nothing we have seen before, so for co-parents, it’s essential to cooperate as much as possible to ensure you, your child and your co-parent have the best possible chance of avoiding the coronavirus.
By doing so, you not only prevent your family from becoming sick and potentially passing the virus onto others, but you also allow your child to benefit from a sound co-parenting structure free from unnecessary stress due to conflict between parents. When you pull together to make decisions that are best for your child, they will look back on this pandemic as a time when their parents did what was best for them despite having potentially conflicting opinions.
Your children may be frightened, confused or just frustrated with the current arrangements during the crisis. A common message of reassurance from both parents will be far more powerful and help with their well being at this time.
What if I Need Family Mediation Services?
If you and your spouse are in the midst of a divorce or separation and require family mediation services, we are here to help — despite what is going on in the world. Although we have decided to cease face-to-face mediation appointments, for now, we offer online mediation services to ensure that the coronavirus doesn’t deprive you and your children of a safe and secure future.
The process itself may take a little getting used to, but you’ll find it is a highly efficient way to conduct a meeting when face-to-face isn’t an option. We use a program called Zoom, a popular video-call software for businesses that need to hold remote conference calls. One of the key benefits of Zoom is that the person who is speaking will appear on the screen, giving them the platform to say their piece. A mediator can also mute the other party if they try to interrupt before a point is made. We have been offering online mediation services since 2016 and our clients have found it works well for them. It is a super-fast and efficient method to sort out any problems arising from this outbreak.
Just like in-person mediation, we follow our tried and tested method of dispute resolution to help you reach a fair agreement on your parenting, property or financial arrangements. All our mediators are trained in online mediation and are experts at helping you reach agreement on the way forward. If you require family mediation services and want to book an online MIAM appointment, get in touch today, or read our recent blog post to learn more about online mediation during the coronavirus.
Do you require family mediation services to settle a co-parenting dispute? Our professional mediators can guide you through the mediation process to reach a resolution that suits the needs of your child. Get in touch today to start the mediation process.