Our family law team are receiving an increasing number of enquiries about changes to parenting arrangements that have come about, either directly or indirectly, due to the COVID-19 climate.

Family Court of Australia Q&A for Parents

Parents who are wanting information on the impact of COVID-19 on their parenting arrangement or their court case, or the options available where they cannot agree on alternate care arrangements with the former partner, can access the “COVID-19 Q&As for parents” on the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia answers questions such as:

  • Are the Courts still open?
  • Do I have to come to the Court building for my case to be dealt with?
  • What are my options if I want to vary my parenting orders?
  • What can I do if I can’t comply with my court orders because of self-isolation restrictions or other circumstances make it difficult?

Urgent Family Law Disputes – National COVID-19 List

If an urgent family law dispute has arisen in your household, you can approach the Court electronically for assistance.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia have each created a court list specified to exclusively deal with urgent family law disputes that arise as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To be eligible for the COVID-19 List, you must satisfy all the following criteria:

  • Your application has been filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The matter is urgent;
  • You have made reasonable attempts to resolve the dispute which have been unsuccessful, if it is safe to do so.
  • Your matter can be dealt with electronically ie. via telephone.
  • You file an Affidavit, using the COVID-19 template, that addresses all the criteria.

The Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia has provided the following examples where parties may be eligible for the COVID-19 list:

  • Border restrictions: where you live in a different state to the other party and your child or children cannot travel between residences due to border restrictions.
  • Supervised contact: where your current parenting arrangements involve supervised contact, and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor cannot perform their role, and no alternative arrangement can be agreed.
  • Medical: where you, the other party and/or the child have tested positive for COVID-19 and you cannot fulfil the parenting obligations due to sickness or concerns of infection.
  • Family violence: where there has been an increase in risk due to family violence as a result of the restrictions imposed on families due to COVID-19.

If you are experiencing a dispute that satisfies some or all of the above criterion as a result of COVID-19, or have unanswered questions about the impact of COVID-19 on your parenting arrangements, please contact our Family Law Team.

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