We’ve had a number of calls from clients over the past week about what Covid-19 or Coronavirus means for their parenting proceedings and how to manage shared care arrangements where there are Orders or Parenting Plans in place.
We decided to do a quick blog answering some of the questions we are being asked.
Are you still open for business?
Yes, we are. We are a small firm and are taking all necessary precautions to ensure that our staff and clients stay healthy. Most of our work with clients can be done by phone and, where attendance at the office is necessary, social distancing practices and hygiene practices will be in place. Should it become necessary, we are equipped to work from home and there should be no disruption to the services we provide.
Will my Court hearing go ahead?
The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane will be hearing the majority of matters by phone for the moment. Where matters are urgent and require Court attendance, the Courts have introduced staggered Court times and limits on the numbers of people in Court at any one time to minimise any risk to staff and clients.
What happens with changeover if schools close?
If you have an Order or Parenting Plan for changeover to occur at school or day-care and those facilities close then use common sense. Communicate now with the other parent about alternative changeover venues where social distancing can be maintained and keep the lines of communication open. If there are safety issues, contact your lawyer to discuss how these issues can be addressed.
Am I still required to comply with the Court Order?
Yes. If you have a Court Order you have an obligation to adhere to the terms of the Order unless you have a reasonable excuse for not complying.
If you must self-isolate, if a parent or child gets sick or you have to change travel plans then communication is the key. Communicate with the other parent, keep them informed about the situation and look at ways of maintaining parent child communications through FaceTime or arrange make up time later for time that is missed.
What about child support if jobs are lost?
If you pay or receive child support as part of a CSA Assessment then contact CSA to update them in relation to any change of circumstances. If you pay or receive child support as part of a Child Support Agreement contact your lawyer to discuss your options.
Most households will experience some financial worry over the coming months but patience, compassion and understanding cost nothing so provide them where you can.
And don’t forget…….with the current media coverage children, especially younger children, may be having difficulty processing the information that is out there and may become stressed and anxious. If you can, try to communicate with other parent to present a united front in addressing your children’s concerns.
If you need any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.