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Partner and Head of Family Law, Rugby
Hopefully many separated parents will feel reassured by the information offered in the blog from Melanie Tubbs, lawyer at Brethertons LLP. It very clearly outlined guidelines on how separated parents can manage contact with their children during this very difficult time. I am sure most parents will feel relieved that their children will continue to have the opportunity to maintain contact with both them and their estranged partner, but equally I am guessing it will also invite some anxieties. It has become even more relevant at this moment in time that separated parents strive to preserve a civil dialogue around the needs of their children. Both the physical and emotional wellbeing of their children is the responsibility of their parents, be they together or apart and with all the current uncertainty about health, if separated parents can do their utmost to develop a consistent approach in the care of their children in these challenging circumstances, that will go a long way towards meeting their needs.
I know that this is easier said than done, particularly if the relationship breakdown is quite recent or the separation has been very acrimonious. Separation and divorce naturally invites the individuals involved to take a certain position and be less likely to empathise or feel best disposed to their estranged partner. However, I have to believe that just because you no longer want to be in a couple relationship with a partner, it doesn’t mean you can’t both be good parents to your children. You may naturally both have different parenting styles and children to some degree can tolerate that, but when it comes to any family’s battle against Coronavirus, parents need to provide a consistent approach that won’t confuse the children or provoke anxiety. As for all of us, life has changed quite radically for children and they may well understandably feel confused about what is going on, if parents can give them the same explanation and model and employ the same safety behaviours, children will feel more secure and less troubled by the ongoing situation.
Adhere to the advice, listen to the experts and keep both yourself and your children safe.
If there are any ongoing safety issues around parental contact or indeed contact with the children, parents should adhere to whatever has been put in place by the authorities or agencies who are working with them.