CAN YOUR CHILD TRAVEL BETWEEN PARENTS’ HOMES FOR CHANGEOVER?
At 4pm on Saturday 31 July 2021, the local government areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan City, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Noosa, Somerset, Lockyer Valley and Scenic Rim went into a 3-day lockdown.
The lockdown rules are stricter this time than in previous lockdowns, and there is one rule in particular that effects changeovers of children between parents. Direction 6(n) of the Direction from the Chief Health Officer provides that you may leave your home to complete a court-ordered or court-directed shared parenting arrangement, as long as this does not include contact with people who are vulnerable to COVID-19, for example someone aged over 70.
This means that:
- If you have a Court Order in place, or the Court has given you a direction, you can leave your home to collect or deliver a child to the other parent, unless doing so means coming into contact with someone vulnerable to COVID-19;
- If you have a Parenting Plan (not a Court Order), verbal, or other informal agreement with the other parent, then you cannot leave your home to effect changeover and the exception does not apply to you. The child/children will have to remain in the care of the parent that they were with at 4.00pm on 31 July 2021, until this lockdown is lifted.
CAN YOU ATTEND COURT?
The Direction from the Chief Health Officer provides that you can leave home to attend any Court or Tribunal of Australia, or to comply with or give effect to orders of the court or tribunal of Australia.
The Federal Circuit Court of Australia will likely direct that Court appearances during the lockdown period (and possibly for a time thereafter) will be by phone or video conference, if they had previously been in-person. Please keep an eye out for communication from the Court or your lawyer as to whether this applies to you.
Each Court will have different requirements.
If you have been Ordered to attend Court in person, then you should assume that you are still required to do so, unless you receive new directions from the Court.
Please phone our office on (07) 5458 9000 if you would like to find out more information, or if you would like assistance for your situation.