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Parenting Orders and COVID-19

Wednesday 8th April 2020

By: Helen Mulvaney

During this unprecedented and difficult time you may be wondering what impact the COVID 19 pandemic has on Parenting Orders.

The Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have issued some guidelines for families who have Parenting Orders in place.

Please click on the following link for the Chief Justice statement on Parenting Orders:


The principles behind the above guidelines is that first and foremost parents must act in the best interests of the child, and ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing.

Parents are also expected to comply with Parenting Orders that provide for parenting arrangements for the child and facilitate those parenting arrangements.

A parent who does not comply with a parenting orders must have a reasonable excuse for not complying pursuant to Section 70NAE of the Family Law Act.

It is recommended that in the event that difficulties arise about the ability to comply with the Orders due to the COVID 19 pandemic that you seek legal advice or contact a Dispute Resolution Centre before making a decision about any changes to existing Orders.  


The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has also advised under Stay at Home Directions that in relation to parenting arrangements:

If there is a Stay at Home Order made by the government then: “if a person has more than one premises at which they ordinarily reside, including a child under a shared parenting arrangement, each such place of residence is taken to be the person’s ordinary place of residence for the stay at home period”

This allows for a child to continue to travel between two residences where shared care arrangements are in place.


In circumstances where it is necessary to issue an application for Parenting Orders or for a breach of Parenting Orders, the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court are still operating. All filing of documents must be done electronically. If the application is by consent then the matter will be dealt with administratively.

Where there are issues in dispute, Court Hearings will mostly be conducted by telephone or video conferencing format. In a very small number of cases the Court may determine that attendance in person is required.  

Please contact Clancy & Triado if you require legal advice on any parenting issues, particularly during the COVID 19 restrictions, or if you think you may need to issue Court proceedings in relation to an existing Parenting Order or to enable you to spend time with your children. 

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