Following the introduction of COVID lockdown 3 on 5 January 2021, we have released a series of articles explaining the legal impact on eight areas of daily life. This article looks at how lockdown will affect family life, whether that is families coping with home schooling or separated families making contact arrangements.

If you would like to read more about the impact of caring for children on your working life, please see our COVID and Going to Work and COVID and the Furlough scheme articles.

Early years childcare

During the first lockdown, nurseries and other early years childcare was forced to close. This time round the situation is better as nurseries remain open and childminding services for those younger than school age can continue as normal.

Schools and colleges

Unlike lockdown 2, one of the biggest effects of the latest national lockdown is the closure of schools and colleges. The first and key point to note is that it is not a complete closure and that schools are still open to vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers (in order to reduce the childcare needs of key workers).

All other children are expected to learn remotely until the February half term (when this current lockdown is scheduled for a review). Those whose parents are key workers also have the option of working remotely if they are able to do so.

Contact with parents

If you are sharing custody of a child, you can continue to meet with the other parent involved, in order to facilitate handovers for contact where necessary. Government guidance specifically states that “Where parents or someone with parental responsibility do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes to continue existing arrangements for access and contact”.

For additional support, you can also form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of providing childcare to an under 14. All members of both households would have to agree to this arrangement and can only form one childcare bubble. The care should be informal and unpaid and can include overnight stays.

For more information on COVID and caring for children

If you are worried about how your contact arrangements are being impacted by the current restrictions, our expert Family lawyers will be happy to help. If you have concerns around your ability to work because of childcare issues, our employment team are also available to answer your questions. Both teams offer a free initial consultation for new clients so please feel free to contact us today.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

Tel: 01245 893400
Visit: 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1JU

Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website