During stage four COVID-19 restrictions, it is important to comply with your shared custody arrangements as far as possible and where it is safe to do so, adopting a commonsense approach.
The Family Court is urging parents to act in the best interests of their children. Unless a reasonable excuse not to comply with parenting orders applies, parents must continue to facilitate spend time arrangements and comply with existing parenting orders.
Stage four restrictions do not amount to a reasonable excuse. The 5 kilometre rule does not apply to contact-related travel/changeover. You should however carry a sealed copy of your Court Orders or Parenting Plan with you.
A reasonable excuse may include circumstances where you have or potentially have, COVID-19 and must self-isolate. In those situations, it is important to obtain medical documents to confirm your status; consider ways in which you can still comply with the Court Orders, and if that not be possible, encourage and facilitate communication between the children and the other parent.
If you are not able to reach an alternative COVID-19 parenting arrangement with the other parent, Aitken Partners offers a lawyer-assisted mediation service specifically tailored for COVID-19 matters. All conferences with you can be conducted via Zoom, Skype, MS Teams, telephone or whichever platform best suits you.
Since COVID-19 restrictions came into force, the Family Court has introduced a COVID List to deal with urgent matters filed as a direct result of COVID-19 relating to both parenting and property matters.
The Family Court aims to deal with all applications filed in the COVID List within 3 business days and all matters are heard via audiovisual link.
If you have been served with urgent Court documents, or you would like to discuss how your parenting arrangements operate in stage four restrictions, please call Aitken Partners family law team on 8600 6043.