What happens to contact arrangements if a “local lockdown” is imposed?
As with all the restrictions connected with COVID-19, travel to continue contact arrangements is an explicit exception. The Scottish Government Guidance connected to the Aberdeen local lockdown is here.
Of course the health of the child is important and both parents will want to ensure the child is travelling from one healthy household to another. The local lockdown shouldn’t be used to disrupt safe contact whether it is court ordered or established informally. Equally, contact shouldn’t be pushed if there is legitimate concern that one parent may have been contacted through track and trace or even may suspect that s/he may have been in contact with one of the local outbreaks.
My case is due in court soon: will it be heard?
Scottish courts are only hearing urgent child protection cases at the moment, so almost all family court hearings are paused (sisted) or postponed (continued). In each part of Scotland all cases have been moved to a few key courts – details here.
I have contact time with my kids coming up but my ex has told me they won’t come because of Coronavirus. What should I do.
We have already had several instances of this. If communication isn’t good with the other parent there is a tendency to be suspicious, quite apart from the upset that comes with losing time with your children. At the present moment (though the situation is changing at short notice) if neither the children nor their parent – or you – have been in direct contact with someone diagnosed with Coronavirus then contact ought to take place if there is agreement between parents or a court order. There is official guidance supporting this and the lockdown law includes this as an exclusion in the movement restrictions.
The decision might be being made in good faith, although overcautious. However, even if you are suspicious there is no great purpose in having an argument. Our advice is to demonstrate that you are a responsible parent with concern about your children’s health. You could reply – by text or e mail so you have a record of it – asking for some form of Face Time with your children during the time you should have had them. If the other parent is being genuine there will be no reason to refuse. If there is no prohibition on sending anything through the post you can send a cheery card saying that you hope to see them soon. Government guidance is that self-isolation should be no more than two weeks if no symptoms have developed in the meantime.