The Chief Justice of the Family Court has issued a Media Release confirming that the family courts remain open to assist parties and provided parents with some general guidance to act reasonably and in the best interests of children.
Other points in the release and our comments include:
1. In the highly unusual circumstances now faced by parents/carers, situations may arise that make strict compliance with current court orders very difficult, if not, impossible. As a first step, and only if it is safe to do so, parties should communicate with each other about their ability to comply with current orders and they should attempt to find a practical solution to these difficulties.
2. It is imperative that, even if the orders cannot be strictly adhered to and are varied by the parties, the parties ensure that the purpose or spirit of the orders are respected when altering arrangements, and that they act in the best interest of the children.
3. If any agreement can be reached about new parenting arrangements, even if only for a short period of time, the agreement should ideally be in writing. We suggest this includes email and text, and your records should be preserved.
4. Consent order applications can be filed electronically with the court.
5. If there is a dispute, or if it is unsafe to agree to changes, and parent(s) have real concerns, parties can approach the court electronically and seek a variation of the orders. In the interim, parents should keep the children safe until the dispute can be resolved.
6. Information, advice and telephone-based Family Dispute Resolution services are available. Ring us, or contact the Family Relationships Advice Line.