Lockdown 2. What are the lockdown rules for separated or divorced parents?
The second national lockdown has worried some separated parents about the rules on moving children between their homes.
With tighter restrictions coming into force on Thursday, we have been inundated with emails from worried parents asking about the rules on children with separated parents and on childcare.
That is because a household mixing ban, meaning that you can no longer visit friends inside their homes, will be in effect from Thursday as part of the second national lockdown.
The household mixing ban would naturally lead you to think that the children of separated and divorced parents will need to stay with just one parent for the duration of the lockdown.
However, that is not the case.
What are the new lockdown rules, and when do they start?
Boris Johnson has announced a second lockdown with country urged to stay at home from Thursday. Unlike the first lockdown in March, schools will remain open throughout this lockdown. Lockdown begins at 12.01 am on November 5, and is set to last for four weeks, until December 2.
The plan is then to ease restrictions on a local and regional basis.
What are the lockdown rules for separated parents?
There is an exemption to the mixing ban for children who don’t live in the same household as both their parents. Children under the age of 18 who live between two separated parents can move between those houses to ensure they can still see both parents throughout lockdown.
More details can be found in the parliamentary report here.
What are the lockdown rules for childcare?
You can form a childcare bubble throughout the second lockdown. A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.
Updated government guidance states that parents can form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare. These rules have been brought in place to help parents struggling to find adequate childcare.
However, the childcare bubble is restricted to be only between the same two households. The government website states: “For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.”
What you can and can’t do under second national lockdown rules
Under the terms of the new lockdown, you may only leave your home for specific reasons.
These will include for education, as schools and universities remain open. If you cannot work from home, you can leave the house to go to work.
You are allowed to go outdoors for exercise and recreation, either with your own household or bubble or on your own with one person from another household or bubble.
This means you can still go for a walk with one friend or family member. This is unlimited so you could exercise with a walk all day if you wanted to.
Children of separated parents can see both parents during the lockdown, as well as be part of one childcare bubble.
Can I still get divorced during lockdown?
Yes, you can. Court staff and judges are working from home and most hearings are being done remotely. In most divorce cases, a hearing is not needed.
Couples will only have to go to court if disputes regarding financial matters or children that cannot be resolved by the separated couple. So, the easiest and quickest way to divorce is use an online divorce company like Easy Online Divorce. You can find out more about fast and affordable services here.