Parenting during a pandemic

Barker Son & Isherwood LLP


Phone 01264 353411


Family life has been tested in all sorts of ways by COVID-19.

One is where separated parents cannot agree on arrangements for their children. In the early days of the pandemic, this was mainly about where the child should live and whether (and how) that child should maintain contact with both parents. As lockdown restrictions have eased, we have seen a rise in enquiries from clients about disagreements over travel and holidays.

We all now have far more freedom to travel than we did just a few weeks ago, but some parents are not comfortable with the idea of the other taking their child abroad or to visit friends or relatives in this country. Some are concerned that the other parent will not be as vigilant as they would be when it comes to hygiene and social distancing. They may feel uneasy about their child travelling to an area that has suffered from high levels of coronavirus infection. Or they may simply be unwilling for their child to fly or to use buses, tubes or trains.

The law says that if one parent wants to take their child abroad, everyone else who has parental responsibility for that child (usually the other parent, although it could be other people too) must agree to that. A concerned parent could therefore veto a foreign holiday. There may well be very good reasons for doing so, but think this through carefully. Taking an unreasonable approach could jeopardise your relationship with your former partner, and could lead to him or her behaving unreasonably towards you in the future.

If you are the one hoping to go away and your plans are being threatened by the other parent, the first step would be to try and agree a way forward. An independent mediator may be able to help, particularly if you have reached an impasse and/or you find it difficult to communicate effectively with your former partner. And sometimes it will be necessary to involve the courts and ask a judge to decide what would be in the child’s best interests.

Because this is about making sure the right decisions are made for your child. Your wishes as parents count but, ultimately, the most important people in all of this are the children of the relationship. If you believe that a trip proposed by your former partner would not be in the best interests of your child (or, equally, if you believe your child’s best interests would be served by you taking him or her on holiday), you should get legal advice on your position. Family Law solicitors like us help families work through their differences as amicably as possible.

Please contact one of our specialist solicitors on or 01264 353411. We would be happy to help you.

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