Keebles advises separated parents dealing with lockdown

Keebles advises separated parents dealing with lockdown

Separated parents in dispute over where their children are based during the lockdown should seek mediation if initial advice from a solicitor doesn’t resolve the situation, according to Joe Bartlett, head of family law at Yorkshire law firm Keebles.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, head of the family courts, confirmed in April that children should continue to visit both of their parents if both households are healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

But separated parents may be at odds at where is best for their children during the lockdown. Bartlett urged people in this situation to focus on the needs of their children: “When trust and communication has broken down, conversations can seem impossible. However, it is urged that both parents focus on the best interests of their children rather than their own needs.”

“Most people will prioritise their children’s welfare. Part of the advice we have had to give is communicating the decision-making process to the other parent.”

He continued: “If initial advice from a solicitor doesn’t resolve the situation, you should mediate. Mediation is a process by which both parents attend by video conference to discuss matters with a third party (the mediator) with a view to resolving a dispute constructively. We have been impressed with how quickly mediators have acted to the Covid-19 crisis in ensuring that parties can mediate via video conference.”

“If mediation and the involvement of solicitors does not resolve the dispute, then there is still the option of court proceedings,” Bartlett explained.

“Courts have said that they will try and deal with cases urgently where no contact is taking place and often this can be done by telephone or video link.”

“Whilst every parent will have a different opinion regarding safety and their child’s welfare, by remaining calm and getting sensible advice early, issues can be resolved.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Legal, News

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Mark Dugdale

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