Parenting arrangements and COVID-19 – what are your rights?

With the spread of the corona virus worldwide, it is only natural that parents are doing all they can to protect their health, and the health of their children.

However it is also important to remember that where there are Court Orders, Parenting Plans or long standing consensual parenting arrangements in place, those Orders, Plans or arrangements will be based on the fact that both parents can care for children, including protecting them from harm.

It is important for all parents to ensure that Court Orders, Parenting plans and long standing parenting arrangements remain in place, and are complied with, unless a parent has a reasonable excuse for non-compliance, or a child (or adult) is being exposed to risk of harm.

That is, the usual law relating to compliance with Court Orders and what justifies a breach of Orders, remains in place; and a sudden, non-consensual change to parenting arrangements (that are not formalized in Court Orders) may result in legal action being taken by a parent who suddenly does not spend time with their child (or children).

Remember, many Court Orders and Parenting Plans specifically state that arrangements can be changed (including in the short term only) at any time by consent of both parties.

The Family Court of Australia has released a statement regarding these matters.

Argent Law supports the Approach of the Court, and we also encourage – as does the Court – all parents to communicate with each other where possible and work together for the welfare of children – including where that welfare can be supported by stability of the child’s relationships with both of their parents and other important people in their lives.

This may require some adaptation – such as changed changeover locations, restricting family or social gatherings over Easter etc.

Nonetheless, Argent Law is here to help our clients (old and new) who have concerns about the impact of corona virus on their family, if needed.

You can call to speak to one of our experienced lawyers on 03 9571 7444.

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