Coronavirus Lockdown: Help, My Ex Still Has My Child

With Coronavirus lockdown expected to stay firmly in place across the country for several weeks to come, you may find yourself revisiting a discussion or agreement with regards to split parenting that originally started when locking down officially began in March. 

As before, approach this discussion with your ex-partner in a calm and reasonable manner. Undoubtedly, everyone is feeling a little frustrated or stressed at the moment so take that into consideration and try to reason when it comes to talking about what’s best for your child or children.

Coronavirus Lockdown: What To Do Next

If your ex has maintained most, if not all, of the parenting responsibilities during the first few weeks of lockdown and you would like to re-introduce and more importantly, maintain contact with your child over the coming weeks, you can politely remind them of the official rules. 

In our blog titled ‘Advice On Co-Parenting During Coronavirus’, we have listed these if you need to refer to them. What’s really important here is that co-parenting absolutely can exist during lockdown especially if there is an official court order in place that states that every effort to maintain this agreement should continue. 

However, should your child custody agreement be less formal than this and your ex still has the child or children, there is no reason why you cannot attempt to renegotiate co-parenting with your ex, given the latest government update on continued isolation for weeks to come. It could really help you both to share the responsibility when it comes to homeschooling, keeping children active and making sure they maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Our Advice For During Coronavirus Lockdown 

It goes without saying that parents want the same outcome for their child during this unexpected time, and that, of course, is safety. So in order to try and reach a balanced resolution, act sensibly. 

Here is some advice on how to tackle situations where your ex still has your child:

Share The Responsibility

Suggest to your ex that by sharing the responsibility of parenting, it can help to take some of the pressure off as it’s likely that many are feeling extra anxious at the moment. Even if it’s offering to help with homeschooling or keeping the children entertained, this idea should hopefully be welcomed.

Regular Communication

Keep communicating with your ex as regularly as possible without it becoming heated or tense. More importantly, try and keep it to just between you two. Having others involved whether it’s grandparents, friends or a new partner, this will make this messy and confusing and may also cause defensive behaviour, potentially making the situation worse. 

Keep A Record

If you make any new agreements or changes to an existing agreement, it’s important to have this in writing whether it’s over text message or email. When speaking in casual conversation, perhaps when dropping the children off to each other’s house, it’s easy to agree to things but it is strongly advised that this is followed up in writing, should you need it later down the line. This can be done very subtly and in a friendly way without coming across as controlling or demanding.

Maintain Normality

As long as neither yourself, anyone in your household or your ex and anyone in their household has contracted Coronavirus, usual visiting should still apply. In doing so, maintain the levels of cleanliness as outlined by the Scottish Government.

What Advice Is Out There?

There’s plenty, but during this difficult time parents are encouraged to try and negotiate between themselves as much as possible. 

Refer to official rules and regulations as a way to help steer your conversation but tackle this with a gentle tone so it doesn’t come across as controlling. The Scottish Government have provided straightforward guidelines on child welfare specifically in relation to Coronavirus, answering some key questions that parents may have.

Shared Parenting is a charity in Scotland that also offers neutral advice and they have also updated their website with specific information on co-parenting during the Coronavirus lockdown.

How Can Cath Karlin Family Law Help You?

If after several attempts your circumstances do not improve and further advice is needed, the team at Cath Karlin Family Law can step in to assist. We understand how stressful child custody and co-parenting can be under normal circumstances, let alone co-parenting during Coronavirus. 

However, even more so than ever before, it’s crucial to try and put any differences aside and find a resolution that firmly puts your child’s needs first. We offer mediation and collaborative options to solve any issues and these can be done over video calls, such as Zoom, to keep in accordance with the social distancing and stay at home guidelines. 

Currently, during Coronavirus lockdown, the courts will only deal with urgent matters on a triage basis, so if you need any information or advice on co-parenting during Coronavirus, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Whatever you’re struggling with, Cath Karlin Family Law is here to help you. You can either email me at cath@cathkarlinfamilylaw.co.uk or give us a call if it’s safe to do so on 0131 357 1515.