The recent coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is fashioning new and innovative challenges for all of us, but in particular for parents in compliance with parenting orders. As social isolation is being increasingly encouraged as a result of this outbreak, and schools are closing down, schedules are changing daily and general panic ensues, the question is to be asked about how to best manage your custody arrangements. Essentially, this present situation will likely result in modifications, albeit temporary, of parenting time.
What are the risks?
Heading into a period where your children could be away from school for an extended holiday or transitioning into an online learning mode, it is important to remember that they will be feeling just as worried about the change as you are. At this time, it is imperative for parents to communicate in order to find workable solutions.
As people will become torn between breaching parenting order and limiting the movement of your child, it is important to take a balanced approach and ensure that neither parent of your child is using the outbreak as an excuse to cut out the other and rather taking the rare opportunity to spend more time with your child.
As stated by the Legal Aid NSW law director Kylie Beckhouse, people will still need to comply with parenting orders… “Talk to the other party, and if you cannot talk to them, try and communicate via a third party to work out a sensible resolution”. That being said, it is to be believed that in the event that there was a breach of parenting orders, the court may take a sympathetic approach to those wanting to isolate their children.
So, what should I do?
It is a good idea to pick up the phone and arrange to put in place a new schedule that works for the changing needs of yourself and your child. This could include making arrangements for different child-care, especially if your child’s pre-school or school is closing down, ensuring that pick-up and drop-off’s are being done in a safe and hygienic fashion. It is also important to keep in mind the changes that will occur in not just the time, but money and resources required to support your child as people stock up on food and sanitary products in case of mandatory lockdown.
• Identify what will change for YOU during this period which could include:
o Pick-ups and drop-offs.
o Schools cancellation.
o Working from home.
o Communication with co-parent.
o Funding and resources
Most importantly, it is important to remain calm, collected and to stay safe. Use this time to work with your co-parent and find a way for you both to take advantage of a bad situation.
More information on staying safe during this period can be found at:
If you have questions regarding your parenting arrangements, get in contact with one of our specialist family lawyers today – 9560 6811 www.thenortonlawgroup.com.au