Tag: lockdown

Single parents will benefit from support bubbles

Single parents will be among those given further freedom from lockdown by the Government’s latest easing of restrictions.

Boris Johnson announced that from Saturday (June 13), single adult households – adults living alone or single parents with children under-18 – will be able to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.

Those in a support bubble can act as though they live in the same household. They do not have to stay two metres apart and can be together inside each other’s homes, even staying overnight.

For single parents with young children it means they could partner up with grandparents. This would  allow the three generations to spend time together indoors for the first time since March.

It will also reunite those in relationships that have had to stay apart because of the previous, stricter lockdown conditions.

Support bubbles must be exclusive

Mr Johnson stressed that support bubbles had to be exclusive; individuals cannot switch the household they are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households.

One exemption to the exclusivity rule is for parents who are separated. They can continue to move children between households, so the children of separated parents could potentially be in two separate support bubbles – one for each parent.

If any member of the support bubble develops coronavirus symptoms, all its members will need to follow the normal advice on household isolation.

The relaxation does not apply to the estimated two million people in England shielding from coronavirus because they are most at risk of infection.

Lockdown strain

The move is recognition of the huge strain that lockdown restrictions have placed on family life, particularly for the estimated eight million adults who live alone.

There were 2.9 million UK lone parent families in 2019. And the number of people living alone has increased by a fifth over the last 20 years. This has been driven mainly by increases in men aged 45 to 64 living alone.

The relaxation will throw up anomalies. For instance, children who are living with a single parent can meet, stay with and hug a set of grandparents. However, children living with both parents can only do the same with a grandparent who is living alone. But the Prime Minister said the scientific advice was still to restrict large numbers of people coming together.

Mr Johnson said: “There are still too many people, particularly those who live by themselves, who are lonely and struggling with being unable to see friends and family.”

June 11, 2020


Working to help you during lockdown

With the UK in lockdown until at least May 7, the next few weeks are going to be difficult for many in relationships further strained by the coronavirus pandemic. But for those divorcing during lockdown or who need advice or support we are working to help you.

Lawyers, like many others, have had to adapt quickly to a new landscape. We’re working from home safely and securely and remain in regular contact with those we represent.

Whilst we are currently unable to meet clients face-to-face, we are taking instructions by email; we’ve sorted the best camera angles for video conferencing and there is always the good old telephone!

We will do whatever works best for you.

The Family Court in England and Wales is still open as access to justice remains an ‘essential service’.

Divorcing during lockdown

Telephone and video hearings have come to the fore. Face-to-face hearings are only being held in exceptional circumstances. And while, like most organisations, courts have been hit by the spread of the virus and staff taking the necessary steps to shield or self-isolate, they are still very much open for business.

The pandemic has hit the economy hard, affecting many people’s employment, pensions, investments and overall financial stability.

Undoubtedly anyone in the midst of proceedings should think hard about how the current situation affects them, not only now but also in the longer term.

In some cases, delay is the only option but here at Merrick we remain solution-focused. If there’s a way to achieve the closure you want, be reassured we will do our best to find it.

An alternative dispute resolution service, such as mediation, can allow for more flexible outcomes and parties are being actively encouraged to pursue this forum in order to avoid current delays in the court process.  It is, however, important to first ensure your case is suitable and that you enter any such process fully advised as to outcomes.

divorce during lockdown: a mediator may help

Divorcing during lockdown: Mediation may help separating couples avoid delays currently in the court process


Any existing shared care arrangements should be maintained where possible. But, if both parents are now at home, consider also the benefits of a revised arrangement which allows you to share more equally the task of home-schooling!

Stay safe

It is a sad fact that domestic violence is an increased risk because of the lockdown. The need for families to spend prolonged amounts of time in close quarters, coupled with the financial and social pressures, mean additional anxieties for some.

The most important thing is to keep yourself and any children safe. If you are concerned for your physical or mental well-being, then please do seek help as soon as possible.

The Government has stressed the instruction to stay at home does not apply if you need to escape domestic abuse.

Refuge runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline. You can call for free, and in confidence, 24 hours a day on 0808 2000 247.

Our phoneline 0161 505 1850 continues to be answered from 8am – 8pm, Monday to Friday. If it is difficult to call because of the lockdown you can send us a private message via social media or email info@merrick-solicitors.com.

We are working to help you.


We’ve written previously about the children of separated parents during lockdown.

Children can stay at both separated parent’s homes under lockdown

Children with separated parents can continue to stay at both their mum and dad’s homes during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Government has written a clause into its new rules to ensure children whose parents don’t live together are not prevented from seeing both parents.

It confirms parents are free to move children under the age of 18 between both their parents’ homes throughout the initial three-week lockdown.

The rules for separated parents were published by the cabinet office in its ‘Full guidance on staying at home and away from others’ document after the prime Minister addressed the nation to put the UK on lockdown to help prevent the speed of covid-19.

Children under-18 can see both parents

Boris Johnson restricted people’s movements – saying there are only four reasons why people can leave their houses – with immediate effect.

children with separated parents

1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible

2. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

Under point three, there’s a clause which states: “…where applicable, this includes moving children under 18 between their parents’ homes.”

An estimated 1 in 4 families in the UK are headed by single parents.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove MP clarified the issue on children with separated parents in a BBC interview.

He said: “My heart goes out to people who are having to wrestle with all the emotional difficulties.

“The key thing here is that if you want to ensure that children can see both parents, then they can be moved from one parent to another…I wasn’t sufficiently clear earlier, it is the case that children under the age of 18 can see both parents.”