Christmas Bubbles and the impact on children of separated parents

The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the everyday life of virtually every person in the world. Unfortunately England is no exception. The guidance being received from the government is changing and adapting to ever-changing circumstances and it may be difficult at times to understand what we can and cannot do.

It is only in the last few days that the government announced that all Greater London and some parts of Hertfordshire and Essex will be entering a Tier 3 level of restrictions. Although undoubtedly necessary to help keep us all safe, this news is particularly unwelcome during Christmas season, when families have traditionally come together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.

Christmas 'Bubbles'

Christmas itself is meant to be a welcome reprieve, as the government has given us a 5-day period of grace from 23 to 27 December 2020 in which to form a “Christmas Bubble” of three households. Whether you choose to take up this offer or not, for many people understanding what it means to have a bubble of three households is relatively easy. But what about those who are divorced, divorcing or separated and have children together?

A “Christmas Bubble” must be exclusive for the duration of the 5-day Christmas period. Once you choose the members of your bubble you cannot leave and join another. Every person within the bubble can only be in that one bubble and no other. One can see the difficulty managing children who travel between their separated parents.

But, according to government guidance, children of separated parents are a major exception to this rule. Children of separated parents who do not live together can be members of two “Christmas Bubbles” rather than just one. This will allow children whose parents do not live together to be able to celebrate the Christmas holidays with each of their parents and their chosen bubble of family or friends.

As such, traditional arrangements whereby children perhaps spend Christmas Eve with one parent and Christmas Day with the other should not be affected this year. The only applicable restrictions may be on travel in and out of a Tier 3 area and on meeting with their bubbles in any indoor venue other than a private home or place of worship. Children can look forward to spending the holidays with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins as long as this is done within the 5-day time period and whilst their parents follow all applicable rules in relation to their respective “Christmas Bubbles”

From all of us at SA Law we wish you a healthy and joyful holiday season!

If you would like more information or advice relating to this article or a Family Law matter, please do not hesitate to contact Julie Cohen on 01727 798067.

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