COVID19 – With NSW Government Orders restricting movement, what happens with my co-parenting arrangements?

With NSW Government Orders restricting movement, what happens with my co-parenting arrangements?

The Australian Government has announced further restrictions on movement and the states/territory governments have responded by restricting movements between state borders and making Public Health Orders and Instruments, dictating when people can leave their homes and for what purpose.

The NSW Restrictions mean residents are now unable to leave their homes without a reasonable excuse, as directed by Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 (“The Order”)

What does this mean for separated parents?

Can I still spend time with my children if I am not their primary carer?

Yes, there are exceptions in the Order, allowing children to move between households to spend time with both their parents and their siblings, even if it is not their primary residence.

Do I need a Court Order to see my children whilst the Order is in effect?

No, you do not need a Court Order. Children who do not live in the same household as either parent or their siblings can continue existing arrangements in relation to contact between, parents and children or siblings. This applies even if you do not have a Court Order.

I am concerned about continuing the current arrangements, what can I do?

There might be circumstances where you are concerned about continuing the existing parenting arrangements, particularly if you or someone you live with is in a high risk category for coronavirus, such as someone with a health condition or an elderly grandparent.

Chief Justice Alstergren of the Family Court of Australia, advises parties communicate with each other about their ability to comply with current orders and/or arrangement and they should attempt to find a practical solution to these difficulties. These should be considered sensibly and reasonably.

My former spouse isn’t negotiating, what can I do?

If you are unable to reach an agreement directly with the other party about parenting matters you should seek legal advice about your rights and steps you may follow. Part of the advice will include to attempt to resolve the matter via mediation if appropriate. In the alternative, you can make an Application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia or the Family Court of Australia in relation to parenting matters.

Our solicitors are experienced in representing client’s in complex parenting matters, including parenting in a time of pandemic. We have recently successfully represented  clients in Court matters seeking a change in parenting arrangements for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

For further information contact Leah McGowan:

e: lmcgowan@elringtons.com.au | p: 02 6206 1300