We are fielding many enquiries during the current pandemic as to the requirement for parents to comply with parenting orders during a “lockdown”. We are fielding enquiries both within and outside of NSW as many Australian states are currently impacted by the current restrictions.
There has been in answer to the range of enquiries regarding this issue a joint statement produced by the Family Court Chief Justice and Federal Circuit Court Chief Justice that covers Australia and all its States and Territories. The joint statement clearly indicated that there is a requirement for parents to fully comply with any parenting orders and indeed the current pandemic situation is not an excuse for non compliance with an order. Children are freely able to travel across households for the purpose of implementing well settled parenting arrangements and parenting orders to enable them to have a close and continuing relationship with their non resident parent during this crisis.
In response to the range of applications that have been filed, there is also an urgent court list known as the COVID list and it can specifically deal with any urgent matters that pertain directly to the current lockdown. We have already had a number of matters that have had to be filed in the list where parents have not been able to exercise time because of a refusal by the other parent with the only excuse being a lockdown event.
Further information regarding the lockdown can be found on the Family Court website and also the NSW Government website in relation to the health directive and health orders.