On Friday 27 March 2020, The Lord President issued further guidance on Court Orders relating to Parental Responsibilities and Rights in light of the current coronavirus crisis.
We are living in unprecedented times and the general guidance aims to address concerns about how court orders can be implemented amid the restrictions placed on our everyday lives following the outbreak of COVID-19.
The Lord President reiterates the Government’s guidance that everyone should remain at home except for when shopping for necessities, attending to medical requirements, exercising once per day and, in some limited circumstances, attending work. The Lord President makes it clear that everyone caring for children should abide by these guidelines sensibly and safely.
Arrangements for children
The guidance states that the arrangements for children, whether by court order or formal agreement, should be adhered to as far as possible unless you and your ex-partner have agreed to vary the arrangement. Alternatively, if you have a less formal agreement in place, you should discuss matters with your child’s other parent to determine how to approach the situation.
Factors that you should consider include your child’s current state of health, if any persons in either household are vulnerable and the risk of your child being infected with the virus. The Lord President stresses that the key to reaching an amicable agreement in this challenging and stressful time is good communication.
It is however recognised that it will not be possible for all families to reach agreement in relation to varying arrangements for children and the guidance provides further advice in this regard.
In the event that contact is rendered impractical due to the current coronavirus pandemic, the Lord President stresses the importance of parents and children maintaining indirect contact. This could be by way of Facetime, Skype, Zoom or Whatsapp, for example. This should be taken into consideration when you are discussing any variation with your ex-partner.
The Lord President’s guidance can be downloaded in full here: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/coming-to-court/attending-a-court/coronavirus
We are experiencing new restrictions on our everyday lives in this uncertain and unprecedented time. It is a worrying experience for everybody and the added stress of varying the arrangements for your children only adds to this concern. If you are experiencing issues in relation to reaching an agreement with your ex-partner our team of specialist family lawyers can provide you with advice and support.
The BTO Family team are here to help
All members of our family team here at BTO Solicitors are working remotely given the current guidelines issued by the Government. We continue to provide our clients with the same high quality of service as always and we communicate with our clients and third parties through email, telephone and video conferencing to ensure a seamless transition to our new way of working. We are here to help.
As everyone is aware the Covid-19 situation is evolving daily. The information contained in this blog is accordingly correct at the time of writing on 30 March 2020. If you require assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch with us and we will give you up to the minute advice.