Sarah Walker: COVID-19 and how it affects your family law matter.
Hi, I’m Sarah Walker, and I’m a lawyer with the family law team here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. Today, I’m going to be talking about COVID-19, and how this impacts on your family law matter.
Firstly, I’m going to discuss how this affects your matter if it’s before the courts already. The court has put a lot of measures in place to deal with the COVID-19 situation. If your matter is before the court, there have been a number of changes instituted by the court. Most matters will now take place over the phone, and in some cases, via video conferencing.
Negotiating a Settlement
If you are negotiating your property matter, there are a number of things you may want to be mindful of. For instance, a lot of superannuation entitlements have decreased significantly. This is obviously going to have some bearing on your matter if you are looking at doing a superannuation split. It may be worth postponing your property settlement if a superannuation split is going to be a big part of the property you are dividing.
A number of businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 situation also. Often in a property settlement, a business may need to be valued. However, you may wish postponing this if the business’ value has decreased significantly at the present time.
Another type of asset that has been impacted are shares. It may be worth considering holding off on resolving your matter if shares play a significant part of the property to be divided.
Due to the current uncertainty, it may be beneficial to delay resolving your matter until a later period. However, if you have agreed as to how you’re going to divide your property, there is nothing stopping you now from finalising that agreement. If you do have orders in place and you’re unable to meet these orders due to for example losing your job, we’d encourage you to obtain legal advice as to what your options are and your rights in that situation.
Another aspect of family law matters are parenting matters. There could be significant impacts on arrangements particularly if you have orders in place and these can’t be complied with if, for example, we’re instructed to go into lock-down. What’s going to be important is that you’re able to negotiate an alternate arrangement. This is where a lawyer can assist you greatly in doing this. With any parenting matter, flexibility in these current circumstances is going to be important. For instance, children may not be able to stay at school. In that case, arrangements have to be made as to where the children will be spending time.
If you’re unable to directly negotiate with the other parent, we’d encourage you to get legal advice as to what your rights are in these circumstances. This is a scenario that none of us have been through before. So it’s really important to get legal advice as to what your rights and options are in these current times.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Turnbull Hill Lawyers. We are open to take your calls.