At Kerr Fels, Family and Divorce Lawyers, we have had a wave of queries from clients who are concerned about COVID-19 and the impact on them and their families.
Many parents are wondering about the impact on their parenting plan or court orders, such as whether the children should be remaining with the primary parent, whether they still need to facilitate handovers, who the children should stay with if they are required to isolate, whether the children should be travelling and concerns about measures the other parent is or isn’t taking to keep the children healthy.
The government and medical advice is rapidly changing. The most important and sensible approach at this time is to communicate with the other parent, if you are able, to discuss your care arrangements and adapt as best you can. If you are unable to agree, please seek advice from a specialist family lawyer before taking any steps which may be contrary to court orders, as there may be serious consequences. Kerr Fels is conducting telephone or videoconferencing appointments and we will ensure we are available to speak with any of our current clients with queries. We also have limited availability to speak with new clients about their concerns.
The current advice uses the terms ‘self-isolation’ and ‘social distancing’. Self-isolation is where you are required by law to stay home and must not attend events or public places such as work, school or childcare. This is different to social distancing measures, which we are all implementing at this time, such as remaining 1.5m from one another and not attending large gatherings.
The current advice is that people who suspect they have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, or who have arrived in Australia from overseas after 15 March, are required by law to self-isolate.
If you or anyone in your home is in self-isolation and you have parenting orders in place, you should take advice from a specialist family lawyer about what this means for you.
We have received a lot of queries from parents in relation to what to do when your children’s school or day care centre closes and your children will be home. Based on the current advice, in the absence of a requirement to self-isolate, parenting arrangements should carry on as usual, in accordance with your parenting plan or orders, unless otherwise agreed. If your orders are impracticable in your circumstances, you should take advice from a specialist family lawyer.
Please be prepared to be flexible with parenting arrangements. Many of us will be working from home and our routines will be impacted. Some of us may have symptoms and will need to take precautions to protect our family.
You are not in breach of a parenting plan or orders for agreeing day to day variations to your parenting arrangements. We encourage all parents to be sensible and to communicate with one another where possible, or through a lawyer if necessary, to prevent further conflict and difficulty at this time.
VIDEO UPDATE: Kerr Fels Family Law COVID-19: Children & Parenting Arrangements
Please contact Kerr Fels on (08) 6381 9080 to make an appointment for specific advice about your situation. The information in this article is of a general nature and should not be relied upon for your family law matter.
About KERR FELS – Divorce and Family Lawyers
Kerr Fels is a boutique law firm practising exclusively in family and divorce law. We offer experience in settling complex financial matters arising from separation involving business entities, trusts and large asset pools, in addition to negotiating simple divorces. We are conveniently located in the Perth CBD.
Our philosophy is to provide client-focused cost effective, efficient and pragmatic legal advice. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you need advice about separation or divorce.
P: (08) 6381 9080
A: Level 26, AMP Tower, 140 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA.