On the 27th March 2020 the Scottish Courts issued guidance around complying with court-ordered contact.  

If you need help, please contact Clan Childlaw.

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The guidance from the Scottish and UK Government around Coronavirus is that:

…it is no longer permitted for a person, including a child, to be outside their home for any purpose other than essential shopping, daily exercise, medical need or attending essential work.

However, there is an exception for children who move between homes because their parents are not living together. If parents or carers live in different homes and normally take turns to look after their children, they can keep doing this.

It is clear this does not mean that any children must be moved between two different homes, but there is an expectation that court orders and formal arrangements will be stuck to, unless there can be an agreement between parents or those with parental rights and responsibilities to vary these arrangements. 

If parents/carers have a more informal arrangement, the court guidance says they should discuss how best to approach the situation and make a decision on whether a child is to move between homes after assessing the circumstances.

It might not be possible for contact to keep happening the way it usually does. In this situation the courts expect that regular contact should be arranged and maintained through alternative means in as far as possible, for example using Facetime, WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom or through telephone calls.

It is not unusual for people not to be able to agree about the best way to arrange contact between children and their family members. At the moment, the court is only taking on urgent cases so there will not be hearings to sort out contact. It might be that people will raise the issue of contact again once the court is back up and running like normal. It is likely in that situation that the court will look for evidence that everyone has tried to follow the guidance as much as possible in the circumstances.

If you are unsure about your situation you can contact Clan Childlaw by free phone on 0808 129 0522, by email to [email protected]

You can send us an enquiry on our website or reach us through Facebook messenger.


The Scottish Courts' statement is here: Guidance on Compliance with Family Court Orders. All updates about Scottish Courts during Covid-19 are found here. Clan Childlaw has written a Courts Update explaining which court cases are going ahead at the moment here.


DISCLAIMER

This is intended as a guide on these issues only, as at May 2020 and should not be taken as an authoritative statement and interpretation of the law. If you have any questions or would like further information please call 0808 129 0522 or email [email protected]