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New guidance for separated parents on child contact during coronavirus lockdown

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Justice Minister Naomi Long

Justice Minister Naomi Long

Justice Minister Naomi Long

New guidance around contact between separated parents and their children during the lockdown have been announced.

Following fresh guidance from the Lord Chief Justice, parents who are concerned about the potential health risk to their children of moving between homes can agree temporary changes without going back to court.

All changes must be in keeping with the spirit of existing court orders and they may include contact taking place remotely by telephone or using online tools.

Health Minister Robin Swann and Justice Minister Naomi Long made the announcement.

Mr Swann said: "Parents should consider the child's health, the risk of infection and the presence of any vulnerable individuals in homes children may be visiting."

Mrs Long added: I hope that, as set out in the guidance issued, (parents) are reassured the court will consider the reasonableness of actions taken when considering future orders, and that parents may be able to make up time missed with their children."

Belfast Telegraph