At the best of times, co-parenting can present problems. Any parent who has been in a parenting dispute will confirm this. Then, Covid-19 happened and presented us with a whole new batch of challenges.
Today's parents face a raft of problems in sticking to the Court's Order. Under Covid-19 conditions, parents have to navigate their way around curfews, lockdowns, border closures, and travel restrictions.
The Federal Court and Family Circuit of Australia have cautioned parents that they must do everything in their power to respect all formal and informal arrangements.
In many cases, travel restrictions don't apply to family arrangements. Yet, there are many questions that remain. What if your child is immune-compromised? Is it safe for him to travel? If the other parent is self-isolating for whatever reason, should you send your child to see them? Schooling and work arrangements have changed.
How does this affect the arrangements? What if your ex is a frontline health worker? The questions are endless.
There is no one size fits all answer when it comes to answering these questions. You will have to negotiate with the other party to find the best solution for the child.
Because there are so many questions when it comes to parental arrangements during Covid-19 the Court has put together the National Covid-19 List.
What is the Covid-19 list?
The Family Court created the Covid-19 list to deal with family disagreements emanating from Covid-19 conditions. The list offers families in dispute a pathway for making current and future family arrangements.
Here's how it works.
You must meet the criteria below to qualify
Covid-19 is the reason that you have filed the application
Your matter is important
You must have made a reasonable attempt to solve the problem if it was safe to do so
You will have to approach the Court electronically via video or telephone.
The affidavit that accompanies your application must cover all the above matters.
Conditions under which you can file
There is a wide range of conditions under which you may file an application.
Domestic violence – if the risk of family violence has risen as a result of Covid-19
Medical – if it is impossible for the parties to carry out their obligations because of a positive test or quarantine requirement.
Vaccinations – when there is a disagreement about the child receiving a vaccination.
Maintenance and financial issues – if financial complications have occurred due to the pandemic.
Employment – if your work arrangements have been changed due to Covid-19 and you are a frontline worker.
Border restrictions – when parties live in different states and the authorities have imposed border restrictions.
Alteration of the time in line with family orders – where there has been a non-compliance or suspended time as a result of Covid-19.
If you can convince the Court that your matter is urgent, you should receive a response to your application in three to seven days. If your application doesn't meet List requirements, the Court will let you know. It will send your application to the court registry closest to you. They will deal with the matter under family law.
We can expect regular changes in Public Health Orders, so the Court recommends that you keep in contact with the relevant authorities. In this way, you can stay abreast of the latest border restrictions and quarantine regulations.