Cordell & Cordell divorce solicitors Stephanie Kelly and Parisa Faridi were recently interviewed by Dad.Info about the impact that lockdowns have had on contact arrangements amongst separated families.

In March 2021, the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service saw an increase of cases by 38% year-over-year. As COVID-19 restrictions have persisted, many families have struggled.

“There has been a surprising rise in the number of child maintenance disputes during the pandemic,” they said. “We can explain this, in part by the increase in the divorce rate. However, we are increasingly seeing parents use the pandemic to renegotiate an existing agreement on child maintenance payments. This might be because parents are experiencing a reduced income as a result of redundancy or the furlough support scheme.”

Perhaps surprisingly, despite having more time at home, Ms. Kelly and Ms. Faridi said they are not seeing parents requesting more parenting time, but rather the opposite.

“Parents are at home more juggling work with children. Parents are needing the other parent more to help them navigate through this difficult time. Flexibility is more important now to ensure the safety and well-being of the children. We have seen an increase in amicable and temporary changes in Child Arrangements Order to accommodate the working arrangements of both parents.”