While it’s an unprecedented time for all areas of our life, one area of enormous impact right now is on separated families.
The courts are aware of this profound impact and have provided some updates and news to help ease the situation on Australian families.
Naturally right now, many parents are anxious about how the pandemic is affecting their children, especially when children can be living abroad, or interstate or have co-parenting situations between two households.
Part of this concern can extend to a parents’ ability to comply with parenting orders or seek changes in current orders during the pandemic.
The Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia has recently published a guide for separated parents during the pandemic and the impact that it may have on parenting orders and court proceedings.
Some areas of consideration are:
Court orders are still binding
If you have parenting matters that are regulated by Court Order, they are still binding, and you must still meet your obligations under those terms unless a reasonable excuse applies. If arrangements become unclear or cannot be met due to quarantine, travel restrictions or if schools close temporarily, the courts are asking parents to find common-sense solutions.
Travel and border restrictions
While the news on this is consistently being updated, currently some Australian States and Territories have border restrictions in place for non-essential travel. It’s unclear how this may be updated in the near future. Still, the courts are working with authorities to introduce appropriate exemptions on border movement for those with court orders.
If you have a court order, you may be required to show it and photo identification.
To access a copy of your court order, you can get a copy via the following link: www.comcourts.gov.au.
Options to vary a parenting order
There are three steps to this:
1. Try and communicate and find a practical solution
Parents should try and come to a common-sense temporary solution even if adjusted for a short period. Whatever the agreement is, ideally, it should be in writing even if by text, email or social messaging.
2. Get help to reach an agreement. Contact Linda Emery & Associates for legal advice on pursuing mediation.
3. Apply to the Court
If both parties are still unable to reach an agreement on arrangements, or if it is unsafe, a variation of orders can be organised. Contact Linda Emery & Associates for legal advice.
At Linda Emery & Associates, we continue to advise our clients on any new updates with regard to COVID-19. If you are concerned about the impact on your family law matter, please contact Linda and her team for arrange a telephone or video conference.
LINDA EMERY BA LLB
Linda has more than thirty years experience and offer expert legal advice in many areas of law. From conveyancing and family law to court litigation and estate matters, Linda is knowledgeable, thorough and empathetic of her clients’ needs.