Family Law COVID-19 update: urgent parenting disputes
New COVID-19 List for urgent parenting cases
Yesterday, Sunday 26 April 2020, the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court issued a joint announcement* advising of the introduction of a COVID-19 List to deal with urgent parenting disputes.
Since the outbreak there has been a considerable increase in urgent parenting applications and the new COVID-19 List has been introduced to address this surge in litigation.
What is the new COVID-19 List?
The COVID-19 List is to be a streamlined process designed to resolve parenting issues for cases affected by the pandemic as quickly as possible. The use of technology and flexible processes will assist in getting matters heard even when courts themselves are largely closed to the public for in person hearings.
The Chief Justice of the Family Court the Hon Will Alstergren** commented in the media statement released yesterday that:
“Applications that are eligible to be dealt with through the COVID-19 List, especially those involving issues of risk and violence, will receive immediate attention and will be triaged by a dedicated Registrar who will assess the needs of the case and allocate it to be heard by a judge within 72 hours of being assessed.”
When does it start?
The COVID-19 List will commence on 29 April 2020 for an initial 3 month period.
Practice Directions will be provided by the Courts providing guidance as to the processes.
What cases will be eligible?
The types of cases that are expected to be eligible for the COVID-19 List include those involving:
- Family Violence
- Supervised Contact
- Border Restrictions
- Medical Issues
The First Step – get legal advice and consider your options
If your parenting arrangements have been or are going to be affected by the coronavirus pandemic we recommend you get early legal advice to explore your options. Every case is unique.
Anyone concerned in a parenting dispute should remember to always keep the children’s best interests as their paramount consideration.
Apart from going to court you may be able to mediate an agreement with the other parent. Even in these unusual days online and telephone dispute resolution is being offered by Family Law mediators.
Book your FREE consultation with a Family Law solicitor
Bell Legal Group can help you with both court and non-court based Family Law dispute resolution.
Call us today on 07 5597 3366 to arrange an initial free telephone consultation to discuss your situation or, if you’d prefer, simply complete the ‘Contact Us’ form below and we’ll get back to you.
* You can read the full media release by clicking here.
** His honour is also the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia.
This update was prepared by Alex Wynn, Senior Associate of Bell Legal Group for information purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Family Law can be complex so always get legal advice tailored for your circumstances.