For separated families, Christmas is often a tricky time to make arrangements which allow their children to spend time with two or more households.

The new Covid-19 rules and guidance in place from 2nd December 2020 will undoubtedly cause further anxiety. As a separated parent, how do you navigate your way through tiers, and bubbles of childcare, support, and Christmas?

Here’s a handy summary from

  • Childcare bubbles are allowed in all tiers.
  • A childcare bubble is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare to a child or children under 14. Members of either household can provide childcare in a home or public place. This includes overnight care.
  • Childcare bubbles are separate from support bubbles.
  • If you’re eligible to form a childcare bubble and eligible to form a support bubble, you can form one childcare bubble and one support bubble with different households.
  • If your child lives in more than one location you can mix indoors where necessary with the other parent to allow your child to move between homes.
  • A child moving between 2 parents who live separately is not counted as a childcare bubble. This means both you and the other parent can also form a childcare bubble with one other household.
  • Between 23 and 27 December you can form a Christmas bubble.
  • Christmas bubbles, support bubbles and childcare bubbles are all different things and have their own specific rules.
  • Between 23 and 27 December, you can continue to use a childcare bubble, but only if reasonably necessary for the purposes of childcare and where there are no reasonable alternatives.
  • If you want to meet socially with the other household in your childcare bubble, you should include them in your Christmas bubble. You and the other household in your childcare bubble would count as 2 households towards the 3 household limit for Christmas bubbles.
  • Children (under-18) whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents’ Christmas bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.

So, if your child is part of a childcare bubble and/or support bubble, that does not restrict the manner in which they can move between two separated parent’s households.

Over Christmas, children can be part of each parent’s separate Christmas bubbles. The child(ren) could therefore spend time in two separate three-household Christmas bubbles.

If you would like more advice regarding Child Arrangements, get in touch with one of our specialist family law solicitors: Andrew Smith in York, Richard Buckley in Sheffield, or Chris Burns and Sophie Arrowsmith in Leeds.

Please note this information is provided by way of example and may not be complete and is certainly not intended to constitute legal advice. You should take bespoke advice for your circumstances.

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