Glossary for Court Guidance for the pandemic
Glossary for Court Guidance for the pandemic
During the current pandemic, some parents whose children are the subject of Child Arrangements Orders, made by the Family Court, have been understandably worried about whether they can follow the order safely, whilst also respecting social distancing.

This article is intended to explain some legal terms used in the Court’s guidance, but, as each child and family are different, it may not cover your specific questions. To read our summary of the guidance, please click here. To view the full guidance, please click here.

What do some of the terms in the Court Guidance mean?:
Parental responsibility        This is the legal responsibility that all mothers and most fathers have, to look after their child in all ways.  Parent’s share this responsibility.  
temporarily varied The changes to an arrangement are meant to last for as long as the Government restrictions on movement and work are in force.  Changes can be reviewed by parents at agreed dates or as the restrictions change 
reasonably and sensibly

All parents should pay attention to the things which keep a child well, from a child’s need for to spend time with both parents, to the safety issues for the child and for others which apply at the time.  This may mean considering the availability of alternative arrangements which make up for any changes to the usual arrangements.  A parent’s view should be based on a balance of those things. It would be helpful for these things to be written down and shared between the parents. 

if theletterof a court order is varied, the spiritof the order should nevertheless be delivered 

The letter means exactly what is written down in the court order, the spirit means what it is trying to help to happen 
acting in agreement  Parents working together to make and put in to action a new or changed child arrangement 
extended family 

These are relatives – grandparents for example – and may include members of new families and households – children of new partners for example 

exception to the mandatory   a good reason to do something different to a requirement which normally must happen 
Rules on Staying at Home and Away from Others 

These are updated on

Child Arrangements Order [‘CAO’] 

This is the order, made by a family court, which sets out where your child will live and who they spend time with. 


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