A family lawyer has warned that some islanders are exploiting lockdown to stop their former partners from having contact with their children.
The comments came from Advocate Nicholas Le Quesne, from specialist family law firm Corbett Le Quesne, as he shared his advice for separated families on how to navigate lockdown...
“Many separated families are managing to deal with the lockdown and changes to seeing their children by agreement. However, some parents are exploiting the situation and unreasonably reducing or stopping contact.
Some people shut down when they are scared and they try to protect their loved ones as best they can, but in this case, unless there are genuine reasons for stopping or changing contact then they could be damaging their children more by acting in this way.
Pictured: Nicholas Le Quesne is an Advocate, English solicitor and qualified collaborative lawyer at specialist family law firm Corbett Le Quesne
Sir Andrew McFarlane, head of the family courts in England and Wales, and due to be the key note speaker at Corbett Le Quesne’s Jersey International Family Law Conference on October 2nd 2020, says that children should continue to visit parents they do not live with as long as both households are healthy.
The guidance from the Government of Jersey is that children under the age of 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes, as long as they are satisfied it is not going to put children at risk. We have seen situations where contact with one parent has stopped because they or their new partner works in a hospital for example. There is a level of discretion in determining what is the best thing to do, but parents should try to reach agreement where possible.
Pictured: "There is a level of discretion in determining what is the best thing to do, but parents should try to reach agreement where possible."
Sir Andrew is particularly focusing on parents who are “acting in a cynical and opportunistic manner” which he says is “wrong” and he warns that people ignoring court orders could end up facing legal action.
Pictured: Separated parents are urged to be honest with each other, and work together during lockdown.
There are cases where contact has and will be justifiably curtailed as a result of this pandemic. However, such cases should be dealt with sympathetically and collaboratively by the parents with a view to protecting the emotional and physical health of the child.”