Scottish Justice Secretary says, “I’m a stepfather myself and my stepdaughter travels between homes.”

Since the first day of the COVID-19 lockdown it has been settled in UK and Scottish Government instructions that children under the age of 18 whose parents do not live together are an exception to the overall travel restrictions.

The exception was established on the basis that there are mental health and emotional as well as practical benefits to children and to both parents of continuing existing arrangements or being flexible about amending them in a demonstration of parents working together for their children.

However, phone and e mail enquiries have revealed a significant proportion of parents are unaware of the exception – or profess to be unaware of it – citing the pandemic as a reason for stopping all contact with even where there is a court order and where there is no evident health risk in either household.

Coatbridge and Chryston MSP, Fulton MacGregor received confirmation from Scottish Government Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf,  in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday 21st April. Mr Yousaf began, “I am very aware of the context. I’m a stepfather myself and my stepdaughter travels between our home and her father’s home as per the agreement we have.”

He reiterated the guidance from both the respective UK and Scottish Governments and the Lord President of the Court of Session who last month made it clear that court orders should be complied with unless there is an explicit health reason for varying it.