How to manage a separation during lockdown: Advice from a family solicitor

PUBLISHED: 10:27 22 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:35 24 June 2020

If you are not getting on with your partner, but are not able to separate during lockdown it is important to manage the situation in the best way you can for the sake of your children. Image: Getty Images

If you are not getting on with your partner, but are not able to separate during lockdown it is important to manage the situation in the best way you can for the sake of your children. Image: Getty Images

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If you’re not getting on with your partner or are already separated you may be worried what effect that could have on your children during coronavirus.

Child custody courts are still open and have adapted the way they work to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Image: Getty ImagesChild custody courts are still open and have adapted the way they work to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Image: Getty Images

We spoke to Carrie Meikle, Family Solicitor at Scott Rowe Solicitors, who shares her advice for people in difficult relationships during the pandemic and how you can minimise disagreements for the sake of your children.

Q: What can parents do if they want to separate during the lockdown?

Whether full separation is possible depends on the situation. Certainly, if there’s an aspect of domestic abuse, the victim can leave the house if they are at risk.

In another case, if a bad relationship is negatively impacting children, the parents should consider if there’s a feasible option for full separation during this time.

It’s important to try to manage the situation in the best way you can if you’re not able to separate for the sake of your mental health and your children’s wellbeing.

Carrie Meikle is a family solicitor from Scott Rowe Solicitors and is here to help families at this difficult time. Image: Scott Rowe SolicitorsCarrie Meikle is a family solicitor from Scott Rowe Solicitors and is here to help families at this difficult time. Image: Scott Rowe Solicitors

Q: Can children move between parental homes during lockdown?

The government has declared that this is allowed, however, this doesn’t apply if one of the parents is classed as ‘vulnerable’ and in self-isolation.

Q: Are child custody courts open?

Courts are still operating and have adapted the way they work to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Some cases are being postponed until after the lockdown to minimise risk if they are not deemed a priority.

They are also conducting telephone and video hearings, whilst still maintaining the same privacy and security as ordinary hearings in court. How hearings should be conducted is taken on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How can parents ensure that their children aren’t too affected by a separation or rift in the relationship?

The first thing to remember is that children pick up on things, so any necessary adult discussions should take place when they’re not around.

With lockdown putting extra pressure on relationships, it’s not difficult to find yourself in an unhappy or potentially volatile situation with a partner.

To prevent a build-up of tension in the house, take time for yourself and find some breathing space. You could go outside for a walk or have a socially distanced meet-up with friends.

When parents start to argue or split up, children may assume they are to blame. If your children are aware of your situation, reassure them that it’s nothing to do with them and that you both still love them. The Cafcass website provides guidance on separation which may help.

Q: How can a family solicitor help at this time?

If you’re concerned about anything to do with relationships, the best thing to do is gather information. By speaking to a family solicitor, you can relieve some of the worry you may have been experiencing and understand your options – there’s no obligation to take anything further.

It’s important to remember that solicitors are just people, and we are here to listen to your concerns, provide guidance and suggest a solution.

Scott Rowe Solicitors is running as normal and all our services are still available. If you need advice on family law, I can arrange to speak to you via telephone appointment or video conferencing – whatever is best for you.

Visit www.scottrowe.co.uk for more information or contact Carrie on carrie.meikle@scottrowe.co.uk or 01297 32345.


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