Many will have watched the Prime Minister’s announcement last night regarding the next steps in combatting coronavirus. You should only now leave the house for one of four reasons:
The government is conscious that these new restrictions will have an impact on parents and children who do not live in the same household. It is acknowledged that parents will feel torn between keeping their children safe and adhering to court orders. In some cases, supervised or supported contact will be stopped as a result of the closure of contact centres such as AVENUE in the North East however certain services offered by them will remain open via telephone and electronic methods.
Advisory notes have been issued by Sheriff Courts and the Court of Session explaining that people acting for themselves, witnesses and the parties themselves should not attend at court. Solicitors’ personal attendance should be considered an absolute last resort. Solicitors are instead being encouraged to agree cases where possible and submit written submissions by email. Only urgent cases will be heard by Sheriffs and all non-urgent cases will be postponed until further notice.
Concern has also been raised about an increase in domestic abuse whilst self-isolation is a must. Most would consider home the safest place to be, but for victims of domestic abuse that is sadly not the case. In times of economic and social instability, tensions are fraught and violence rises.
It is hoped that despite whatever families and parents are going through on a personal level, common sense will prevail, together with a desire to keep the spread of COVID-19 to an absolute minimum. We must remind ourselves and our children that this worrying and uncertain time is only temporary. By working together and following the government guidance, we will come out the other side.
The present situation is challenging for a lot of families, but there are many ways those families can draw on the support of legal and other advisors. The Brodies’ Family Law Team has the ability to work from home and we are contactable by email and telephone. We remain dedicated to assisting both new and existing clients.