The Scottish Courts have issued guidance around complying with court-ordered contact, published on 27th March 2020 and updated on 16th July 2020.  

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The general guidance from the Scottish and UK Government around Coronavirus is that there is now no general 'stay at home' requirement in place, and children and parents are no longer subject to travel restrictions within Scotland. There has always been an exception to stay at home restrictions 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. Court orders and formal arrangements should 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, for example by changing venue or 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. If the issue of contact is raised in court, the court will look for evidence that everyone has tried to follow the guidance as much as possible in the circumstances. At the moment, the court i taking on urgent and non-urgent cases, with cases involving children given priority. If you had a court hearing scheduled which was missed due to Coronavirus, you should contact your legal representatives or court to rearrange this.

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.

The Scottish Government's Parentclub.scot website has a page on Shared Parenting during Coronavirus here


DISCLAIMER

This is intended as a guide on these issues only, as at July 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]