Q: My daughter usually lives with me and stays with her father every other weekend. That is what the court ordered. But when the COVID lockdown began and she couldn’t go to school, I agreed she could stay with him as he was furloughed and I had to carry on working. Now I have been made redundant and my ex is refusing to return her to me as he says his brother tested positive for coronavirus and they were with him, so they have got to self-isolate. I don’t believe him, and I think he has lied to my daughter about it too. What can I do?
A: The guidelines are clear about self-isolating after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. You must self-isolate at home for 14 days from the date of your last contact with them. So unless you have proof that your ex is lying about his brother having COVID-19 it will be difficult for you to do anything about getting your daughter back until those 14 days have passed.
You can contact a solicitor and request they write to your daughter’s father giving him a deadline by which she must be returned to you or else you will apply to the court for an urgent order. This deadline could coincide with the 14th day of the self-isolation period. You may be eligible for legal aid for this.
If your daughter is not returned to you at the end of the stated period it may be possible to apply to the court for an emergency order for your daughter to be returned to your care. If necessary, you could request a variation to your current child arrangements order at the same time. Most solicitor appointments and hearings in the family court are currently taking place remotely, either over the phone or by video link, but do not let that put you off.
This question has been answered by Nathan Wright a Partner with GHP Legal. If you would like to speak to someone about this or any other legal matter it is still possible and we are doing everything we can to ensure that we continue to offer our high levels of service to our clients. In accordance with government guidelines, most of our lawyers are currently working remotely which means you may not now receive a response as promptly as you may expect. Please kindly bear with us and we will respond as soon as we are able.
Where possible, we ask that you communicate with us by phone or email. If you have a new enquiry, please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website or call Wrexham 01978 291456 or Oswestry 01691 659194. As a firm, you will appreciate that we are still extremely busy, and whilst our colleagues are well equipped to work remotely, due to current circumstances work may be interrupted – however cases are still ongoing and will be prioritised by urgency and need. Stay safe and thank you for your support.