Our caring and experienced Chelmsford based team are here to help you plan for the future, and support you and your family during more challenging times. We are available when you need us, with evening and weekend appointments available on request.
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Frequently asked questions
Here are some questions we are being asked at this current time.
If you need any more information, just give us a call and we will be happy to answer your queries.
Michael Gove MP has confirmed that travel is permitted to allow children of separated couples to continue to see both parents. Ultimately this is a decision for parents to make jointly, weighing up the safety concerns. If your child is to see their other parent then handovers need be kept to a minimum.
This means you should try and agree with your former partner any changes possible to reduce unnecessary travel. For example, if one parent normally sees their child on a Wednesday afternoon for three hours and a Friday evening for two hours you may wish to change this to five hours occurring on a Friday instead.
It is sensible for both parents to show a degree of flexibility and help ensure their own family and the wider community are kept safe.
The World Health Organisation reports that children’s symptoms to coronavirus tend to be mild, but the UK government guidance states that if you have displayed symptoms of coronavirus everyone living with you must isolate, including children.
If your child is in one of the vulnerable categories, for example they have asthma, then it may be safer for them to isolate with your former partner away from your house.
If this occurs, anyone in your former partner’s home must also isolate. This should be for the duration of the Government’s advised isolation period (typically 14 days, but this can change if they develop symptoms).
This is a tricky decision as, although relocating would reduce the risk if your child has not already contracted the virus, if they do have the virus you could be unnecessarily putting another household at risk.
No. Your children should not be exposed to your former partner if they are suspected of having coronavirus or if they are isolating due to being at greater risk of suffering severe symptoms from coronavirus.
This will be a difficult time for many families and children, and where physical contact cannot occur you should maintain contact by telephone or video calling.
This depends on the circumstances. The Government advice is to isolate whole households, including children, if someone that lives there has coronavirus.
If your child has an underlying condition that makes them more vulnerable to severe symptoms then it may be of benefit to move to reside with you temporarily, provided they are not displaying any symptoms.
You will need the consent of your former partner to any temporary change in residence. If there is a court order in place in relation to your contact arrangements, you may need to take legal advice.
It is best to try and reach an agreement with your former partner over sharing this additional care and helping out with any home schooling. If your former partner refuses then you should contact us for advice on further steps to take.
If you suffer a cut in your income by up to 25 per cent then the level of child maintenance, your pay will reduce. If you are now on the coronavirus job retention scheme your income still may have reduced sufficiently if you normally worked regular overtime or your earnings were over £3,125 per month. You can check the online government calculator to see by how much your payments could reduce.
If you have an informal agreement with your former partner over maintenance, then you should contact them directly to agree the reduced payments. If your maintenance was assessed by Child Maintenance Services, you must contact them to inform directly of the change in your income.
Key services will remain open. If you experience any domestic abuse you should contact the Police for immediate help.
Domestic abuse charities have issued a joint statement outlining their commitment to continue doing everything they can to support survivors. We are also on hand to help assist with any legal orders you may need to protect you.
The courts remain open and are giving priority to critical cases, for example care proceedings and abduction. Cases are being dealt with remotely via telephone, video calling or email. The courts are working urgently on expanding the availability of technology and in the meantime are using facilities such as Skype. The courts hope to minimise disruption to all family cases, but given the speed of these new changes, and depending on witness and client access to remote services, many cases are likely to experience some delays.
Divorces already take place online and it is expected there should be minimal disruption or delay to this, subject to staff shortages due to isolation or illness.
If CAFCASS are involved in your case, they have indicated that they will continue to deliver essential services. Their offices are all now closed, but they intend to work remotely and conduct interviews with parents over video calling if possible.
If an urgent matter arises, for example regarding matrimonial assets or finances, you should contact us urgently as steps can still be taken remotely to raise these issues.
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