Children With Separated Parents Allowed To Visit Both During Lockdown
After the Prime Minister's announcement that the country is officially in lockdown last night, many separated parents were left concerned about how their children would be able to travel between them.
In his address to the nation, Boris Johnson said in no uncertain terms that nobody should visit any household other than their own, so that we can slow down the spread of coronavirus.
However, the government has since clarified that an exception will be made for children under the age of 18 who are splitting their time between two parents - either under order of a court, or as part of a divorce settlement.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast this morning, Cabinet Officer Michael Gove said that travelling between two different homes should be "kept to a minimum", but confirmed it was allowed.
"It is the case that children under the age of 18 can see both parents," he said. "It is the case that there can be that contact.
"One of the things I'm anxious to do is make sure we minimise social contact.
"But... children under the age of 18 can see both parents."
Speaking about the government's decision, Natalie Wiles, a chartered legal executive, at Langleys Solicitors, added some further clarification on parental responsibility of separated and divorced families today during lockdown.
She said: "The government have now clarified that it is ok for children to spend time with each parent where there are separate households and that existing arrangements should be maintained. This will no doubt be a huge relief to many families.
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"It is also important for parents to remember that it is important for the children's emotional wellbeing to maintain a good and regular relationship with both parents.
"If there is an existing court order in place determining the arrangements for the children then this should be adhered save for circumstances where self-isolation is required.
"It is important that during these very worrying times that as much stability is maintained for the children as possible and following established patterns of time spent with each parent will play a big part in this."
Yesterday, the prime minister announced that the British public should only be leaving the house for essential food supplies, exercising alone - or, with members of their household only - medical appointments or travelling to and from work (essential workers only).
Boris Johnson emphasised that those who can be working at home, should be. Non-essential shops will now be closed, except food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, vets, newsagents, banks and undertakers.
LONDON: I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now.
Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it's absolutely necessary.
Ignoring these rules means more lives lost. #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/XeGEuCoWyV
- Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 24, 2020
Gatherings of more than two people - except for those in the same household - have also been banned.
This morning, London mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated the prime minister's message, tweeting: "LONDON: I cannot say this more strongly: we must stop all non-essential use of public transport now.
"Employers: please support your staff to work from home unless it's absolutely necessary. Ignoring these rules means more lives lost."
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