Pandemic sees requests for equal shared custody rocket
The family team in Shakespeare Martineau’s Birmingham office has seen an uplift in requests for childcare arrangements allowing for equal care of children from separated families, following the acceleration of agile working. Find our why here.
As a result of the pandemic, more flexible working arrangements have been introduced by many companies, affording separated parents more time to take on equal childcare responsibilities that the traditional ways of working did not always allow.
With roles no longer needing to be office-based, the homeworking effect seen by the pandemic has meant that children can spend more time with both parents, enabling “shared care” to truly mean “equal care” – a concept previously out of reach for many working parents, due to the practical constraints they faced day-to-day.
The firm has seen an increase in requests from parents wanting to alter existing arrangements as a reflection of their newfound flexibility, as well as the majority of new agreements taking a more equal footing from the start.
In addition to an increase in amendments to childcare provisions, the pandemic has also seen an uplift in enquiries about postnuptial agreements and separations too.
Helen Bowns, family law partner in Shakespeare Martineau’s Birmingham office, said: “The pandemic has altered the way we live and work and thankfully, there are positive outcomes. The move from office to home-based working means children can more easily spend time with both parents.
“Putting the needs and wishes of the children first when divorcing or separating provides a solid foundation for most agreements and this shift is good news for both children and parents alike.
“Many couples that have reached an agreement may now be prompted to revisit their current child arrangements to reflect their new ways of working. Active and equal involvement from both parents where possible is suggested for the benefit of the children, and we encourage separated couples to reflect on what arrangement is best for their children, in light of the new circumstances we are all living in. Now is the time to seize the opportunity to make positive changes”