A New Phase of Covid Confusion for Disputing Parents

By Francesca Davey

Senior Associate

As we start the new term we turn to look at what challenges this new phase of Covid confusion presents for parents trying to navigate their children through these strange times.

We see parents being presented with the following kinds of new queries: Should my child be vaccinated? How do I deal with my child truanting because of anxiety on return to busy classrooms? Home schooling has been working well, should we continue? My child needs a tutor to catch up, how do we pay for this? How can we make decisions about tertiary education and gap years depending on unexpected A-level results and strains on university places? Can the other parent take my child abroad and risk having to quarantine? Prices going up and taxes are about to, how do I get increased maintenance to meet my needs?

Dealing with these kinds of issues is particularly challenging because there isn’t necessarily only one right answer. When two parents have parental responsibility and a right to be involved in the decision making, it is not always easy to agree, particularly where there may be little, or contradictory government or professional advice. There isn’t a law that tells you the answer to these questions, but ultimately, a dispute can be referred to a Judge in court who will make a decision. This will be based on what the judge deems to be in the child’s best interests and this might not necessarily be based on what either of the parents wanted to do.

Unfortunately, the compounding effect of the pandemic and court closures last year with the already growing backlog of applications to court, means that the court process is currently very slow and you cannot guarantee getting a hearing to deal with an issue in a child’s life before the relevant time has passed.  

We need to look more and more towards using other methods of helping disputing parents reach a decision. Using out of court dispute resolution will help you find a middle ground, reach a mutual decision, or a final decision can be made for you. These routes will almost always be faster and more cost-effective, and in many cases will give you a better foundation for remaining amicable. 

For more information and to find out how we can help you, please contact us on 0345 646 0406 or fill in our online enquiry form and a member of our Team will be in touch.