COVID-19 & Parenting Orders
Parenting Orders and the impact of COVID-19
As with almost all aspects of our daily lives, COVID-19 has created unique challenges for parents and children. The Family and Federal Circuit Courts are acutely aware of these challenges and have issued guidelines to assist parents to navigate their Parenting Orders whilst impacted by COVID-19.
On 26 March 2020, the Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, the Honourable William Alstergren released a statement and issued a number of general guidelines to assist parents throughout this time.
A useful summary can be found below:
1. It is imperative that parents and carers act in the best interests of their children. This includes ensuring their children’s safety and wellbeing.
2. Parents are expected to comply with Parenting orders.
3. Parents, however, may face situations that make strict compliance with Orders very difficult, or even impossible.
4. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot comply with your Parenting Orders you should:
i. Communicate with the other parent.
ii. Attempt to find a practical solution which is both reasonable and
5. If an agreement is reached about new parenting arrangements, this should be recorded in writing via text, email or WhatsApp.
6. If no agreement can be reached, parents should keep the children safe until the dispute can be resolved. During this period of dispute, parents should ensure that each parent or carer continues to have some contact with the children consistent with the parenting arrangements such as by videoconferencing, social media, or if that is not possible, by telephone.
7. Importantly, you must act reasonably at all times. To act reasonably, or to have a reasonable excuse for not complying with Court orders, is a matter that is considered by the Court (pursuant to s70NAE of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)).
Family Law continues to expect parents to make a genuine effort to resolve disputes via Family Dispute Resolution e.g. mediation. At Fourtree Lawyers we are able to assist you to participate in mediation remotely via teleconference or videoconference alongside our network of expert mediators.
What if I have to go to Court?
The Family and Federal Circuit Courts remain open and are continuing to operate at this time. The Courts are constantly adapting their procedures as the COVID-19 situation unfolds.
Unless there is a specific reason for physical attendance at Court, all matters are now proceeding via telephone or video link. Our Family Law solicitors are regularly appearing in the Family and Federal Circuit Courts via telephone and can now assist you to prepare and sign all Court documents remotely.
Whether you have an existing matter before the Court or you need to file a new Application, you can rest assured the expert team Fourtree Lawyers will be able to advise and assist you.
We are here to help
Fourtree Lawyers remain open and available to all existing and new clients experiencing family law issues.
To maintain the health and safety of our clients, we are able to advise you via telephone or videoconferencing.
If you are experiencing Family Law issues, are confused about the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on your Parenting Orders or are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on the family law process, please contact us today on 1300 529 444.