Christmas is a difficult time for parents that are separated in a ‘normal’ year. The COVID pandemic has created another level of worry and uncertainty in relation to whether families can be together or not. Whilst this is subject to change and will be kept under review by the government. I have tried to address some of the questions separated families might be asking at this time of year.
I have separated, can I be involved in my children’s life?
The court when deciding the arrangements for children will presume that, unless the contrary is shown, that involvement of each parent in the life of the child will further the child’s welfare.
Can my children come home for Christmas?
Children aged under 18 whose parents live apart are allowed to be part of two separate Christmas bubbles. This means they can see both parents without being counted as part of another household.
My ex won’t let me see my children, but the children want to see me, can they decide?
This depends on all the circumstances of the case and the ages, wishes and feelings of the children involved. A child will gradually become mature enough to take decision’s themselves. There has been case law that states “Parental authority ceases in respect of any aspect of a child’s upbring about which the child themselves are sufficiently mature to make decisions themselves”.
My ex won’t let me see my children, but I want to see the children over Christmas, what can I do?
It is possible to make an application for a Child Arrangements Order. Such an Order can deal with both issues of ‘residence’ and ‘contact’. The child arrangements order will name the person with whom the child is to live and specify the person with whom the child is to spend time or otherwise have contact with.
If you wish to discuss a potential child arrangements order please do not hesitate to contact BH&O either by telephone or by email and one of our team will be happy to assist and guide you through the process.
Karen Newman, consultant solictor