COVID-19 and Family Law: Tips on how to continue managing family law issues during the pandemic
Over the last week or so, a number of media publications have addressed how families will face delays in accessing the family law system during this unfolding health emergency. The current COVID-19 pandemic will inevitably place the family law system in a position of further stress, delay and angst. Particularly, for those who are seeking to have family law matters dealt with, it is a time of even greater confusion and distress. Our family law team are readily available to assist you in advising you on how to best manage your matter during this time of crisis, particularly for those dealing with arrangements for children following separation.
Parenting during COVID-19
Whilst many parents, as would reasonably be expected, may be concerned for their children’s health and wellbeing in coordinating co- parenting arrangements, the Family and Federal Circuit Courts of Australia in a joint direction have made it clear that parties must comply with Court Orders. If you believe circumstances have arisen that make it impracticable to comply, we encourage you to contact our team immediately to discuss your individual concerns. If not, our advice is to continue adopting common sense in managing your parenting arrangements through this unprecedented time. Please note that there is a specific exemption on interstate travel restrictions in cases of Court Orders.
Going to Court
We have received direction from the Courts that the current pandemic will impact current and future Court proceedings. The Court is hoping to continue to conduct business as usual wherever possible, hearing matters by telephone or video conference facilities such as Microsoft Teams. Some matters listed for Final Hearing, particularly property matters, may be adjourned to a date late this year or with no fixed date at all. The Court will list urgent matters when required. The Shepparton Circuit in May will be conducted by the use of telephone and Microsoft Teams. We welcome you to contact our office should you have any concerns about any upcoming court date you may have.
While we all come to terms with this unprecedented situation, it offers an opportunity for all current and future clients to engage in dedicated discussions and negotiations between parties in pursuit of a beneficial outcome in both property and children’s matters without the need for further Court time.
Please use the following link to access frequently asked questions on COVID-19 and family law: http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/about/covid/covid-faq/
We appreciate this is a distressing and overwhelming time. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.