What is the impact of coronavirus on child contact?

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Over the past few weeks, we have all been inundated with news updates regarding travel to areas that have been affected by coronavirus and many of us are having to face difficult decisions around holidays and business trips.

For children travelling abroad, it will be up to the parents to make that decision for them. So what happens when parents can’t agree on their stance or where one refuses to take precautionary measures on behalf of a child you co-parent?

The father/mother of my child wants to take my child to an area affected by coronavirus – what can I do?

If you’re worried about your child being taken by their other parent to an affected or at-risk area and they won’t agree to not take them, you can apply to the court for a Prohibited Steps Order preventing this.

As part of those proceedings, the court can order that passports are held by a solicitor and can make an order preventing that child from being taken out of the country. These applications need to be made urgently and without delay. They can also be made without informing the other parent/party in exceptional circumstances, i.e. if them finding out about the application is likely to increase the risk of the child being taken to that country.

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How do I apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?

You will need to contact a family lawyer to make an application for a Prohibited Steps Order. They can then ask the other parent to agree in writing that the child will not be removed, ask for the passport to be held by either party’s solicitor, and apply to the court for the order which will prevent the child from being removed.

Who can apply for a Prohibited Steps Order?

In short, anyone with parental responsibility for a child and anyone who cares for a child with the court’s permission.

How we can help

If you’re a parent who is concerned about their child being taken to a country affected by coronavirus, against your wishes, or for further information, call our specialist family law solicitors on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.




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