27 Mar 2020

Your Covid-19 questions answered: Sole parents and shared families

10:16 am on 27 March 2020

At such an unfathomable time there are a lot of important questions. We're here to help you find the answers, so you can feel less stressed and make good decisions. To get in touch email me at glen.scanlon@rnz.co.nz.

A photo of a father and young daughter reading together

Photo: stockbroker/123RF

In this q&a we focus on sole parents and shared families.

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs) or call your GP - don't show up at a medical centre

What should sole parents be doing? It's a very complicated situation for them and there appears to be little guidance.

Officials have said a sole parent should organise to have a buddy as their child/children's other carer. However, that person has to be established now. The buddy should only interact with the sole parent's family and vice versa. The key was to "stay faithful" to each other. The buddy could not be looking after other people.

The sole parent could use the buddy to look after the kids while they went to shop or if they fell ill.

I share custody of my son with his dad and normally it works really well. But now my son is worried and wants to spend more time with me. What do I do?

Earlier this week Principal Family Court judge Jacquelyn Moran said children in shared custody arrangements may have to stay with one parent during the lockdown.

Moran said children should not be moving between homes if it involved shifting between different towns or communities.

She said parents and caregivers should also discuss whether their arrangements could potentially allow Covid-19 to spread.

"The safety of the children and others in their family units should not be compromised by movement between those homes, particularly if there are more than two homes involved."

Generally, children will be able to move between parents if they are in the same community, unless, the child is unwell, another individual in the household is unwell, or either has been overseas in the last 14 days.

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