Confusion, concern and worry about your Family Law issues in these Covid-19 pandemic times is understandable. Abbi Golightly an accredited specialist in Family Law and partner at OMB Solicitors offers some guidance with her COVID Q & A.
Are the Court’s still open?
Yes, however procedures have been put in place conducting hearings mostly by telephone or video conferencing.
Will my court date still go ahead?
Yes, in the majority they will proceed although some matters which are considered “not urgent” will be adjourned to a future date, to allow urgent matters to be dealt with.
What do I do if I feel concerned for my safety?
If you are in immediate danger, call 000. The Court is prioritising urgent matters concerning the safety of children, dealing with them via telephone or video conference.
I am isolating – do I have to physically go to Court?
Generally speaking, no. The Court has implemented a new “Face-to-face in-court Protocol” to ensure that social distancing requirements are strictly followed. Contact a Family Lawyer to discuss the specifics of these protocols.
My matter had an appointment for an interview to get a report, how will this work?
The Court will contact you to make arrangements. Adults will be contacted by phone or video. If children need to be interviewed, an assessment will happen about how that will occur. If those interviews have to occur face-to-face, then the interviews will follow the required protocol.
How might COVID-19 impact my parenting arrangements?
The court is aware that strict compliance with parenting orders may not be possible and in fact may be impossible. The best option is to try to reach an agreement with the other parent and failing that contact a specialist family lawyer for advice. In the highly unusual circumstances, which Australian families now face, there may be situations that make compliance very difficult. The Court expects parents to continue to act in the best interests of the children and act reasonably.
How can I change my parenting agreement or order?
- Communicate with the other parent and if agreed, it should be documented in writing, even by text message.
- Get help to reach an agreement. Contact a Family Relationships Centre, or your family lawyer who can help you by phone, video call or other contactless means.
If you need any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our OMB Gold Coast lawyers for a free, initial consultation.