We are all nervous about how we go about our normal lives during a time when there is so much uncertainty.
Government regulations regarding the COVID-19 epidemic are changing by the day. This is causing a lot of anxiety and stress for parents who are separated and trying to deal with how to best manage a child’s time spent with each parent, especially if we have been told that we need to exercise social distancing practices and self-isolate.
On 30 March 2020, the NSW Government enacted the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020, which directs “that a person much not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person’s place of residence”. In detailing what a “reasonable excuse” is, the government makes specific reference to continuation of existing arrangements for access and contact between parents, children or siblings who are separated. The Chief Justice of the Family and Federal Circuit Court of Australia has also made reference to the importance of complying with court orders as they relate to parenting.
It is very important to understand that each parent is required to act in the best interest of their child, which includes facilitating parenting arrangements between the child and the other parent. During this time, parents are required to continue to comply with court orders relating to time spent as best they can.
If you are having difficulties in dealing with facilitating current court orders, here are some resources that can help you:
- Family Court – Statement regarding Parenting Orders and COVID-19
- Family Court – COVID-19 Update: Information for parents
- Relationships Australia NSW
The first step is always to try and speak with the other parent about appropriate and practical arrangements, but only if it is safe to do so. If this fails however, and you would like to discuss what your options are legally to ensure that you continue to get access to your children or what your options are to protect your children, speak to an experienced member of our team on (02) 9687 9322. We are here to help you through this uncertain time.