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COVID–19 School Holidays and Parenting Orders; Is there certainty?

01.04.2020

COVID–19 known as Coronavirus has caused a significant impact for the general public accessing family law services.

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have issued guidelines for upcoming court appearances to take place by electronic means such as telephone or video conferencing and where possible a small number of face-to-face hearings.

The Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia have prepared a top 10 guide for separated parents during COVID-19.

Link to the Family Law Council Top 10 Tips Guide for Family Law Services

Link to Family law courts Statement from Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia – Parenting Orders

Consistent with parental responsibilities to act in the children’s best interests, it is expected parents will comply with obligations of your parenting orders unless a reasonable excuse applies. If the terms of the parenting orders cannot be adhered to (e.g travel restrictions, quarantine, self-isolation or because schools are closed) use common sense and think about practical solutions.  Where it is safe to do so communicate with the other parent sensibly and reasonably.

If you realize a change is necessary, give the other parent as much notice as possible and an explanation for them to adjust to the change.

It is your responsibility to act in the children’s best interests including to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing. Where school or sporting fields are an agreed handover location but are closed, think about other suitable neutral or public locations where social distancing can occur.

Try to communicate in an open and honest manner with the other parent about your concerns and if there is a risk of being exposed to the coronavirus, be open and honest about it.

Above all, stay healthy, always follow government guidelines and practice social distancing. If your child has symptoms, this information must be shared with the other parent.

At KSW Lawyers we are open for business, operating behind closed doors and are available by telephone or video conferencing for all enquiries. See our post on COVID–19 response for how our changes can assist you in these unprecedented times.

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