We’re in lockdown again. What do we do about our parenting arrangements?

On the 26th of June 2021, the NSW Government announced a series of ‘Stay At Home Orders’, which have basically but us all back into lockdown. This can be a really tricky time, and is especially tricky for separated families. The Separation Place and Mediators is here to guide you through this process. You can call us for advice on 1300 444 LAW. The follow information applies to the Greater Sydney area. 

Please note that the Stay At Home Orders and COVID-19 Regulations in NSW are changing regularly. This information is up to date at the time of publishing, but may be subject to changes and updates. 

Are we allowed to leave home for our kids to go to the other parents’ house?

Currently, you are allowed to leave your home and local government area to allow contact between your children and their other parent. You are also allowed to have the other parent and any siblings into your home so that they can spend time together without breaching the current COVID-19 regulations.

What if someone is a close contact or casual contact of a positive COVID-19 case?

For close contacts, the current directions say that anyone who is a close contact must self-isolate until they are otherwise directed by NSW Health. This means that they must not leave their place of residence, and they may not allow anyone to enter their residence. 

This means that if someone is a close contact, they cannot spend time with your children as set out in your arrangements, until they are given clearance from NSW Health. 

For casual contacts, they must isolate until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. This means that they must not leave their home or allow anyone into their home until they receive a negative result.

What if my children’s other parent has COVID-19?

If your children’s other parent has COVID-19, they are required to stay home and must not allow any other people into their home until they are ‘medially cleared’. This means that they cannot spend time with your children as set out in your arrangements, until they receive a medical clearance to do so.

What if I am a close contact or have COVID-19 and my kids are meant to spend time with their other parent?

If you are a close contact of a COVID-19 case, you are waiting for test results, or you have COVID-19, and your children have been in your care, your children will have to self-isolate with you and cannot go and spend time with their other parent until the appropriate clearance is given.

What do we do if our children can’t spend time with their other parent?

If you need to self-isolate with your children, and it is safe to do so, their other parent may be able to join you in your residence for the duration of your isolation period. 

If this is not an appropriate solution for you, the Family Courts are encouraging parents to come up with temporary measures that still meet the ‘spirit of the orders’ or of the arrangements that you had in place.

If you are unable to comply with Parenting Orders because of COVID 19 restrictions, it is important that you communicate clearly with the other parent about this. It is also a good idea to discuss with the other parent the measures that you are suggesting to ensure that the child or children are still able to spend time with each parent as much as possible.

What to do if you and your children’s other parent disagree

If you are not able to comply with Parenting Orders, you should contact a lawyer straight away for advice on your specific situation. 

The Family Courts have also created a COVID 19 List, where matters relating to COVID 19 can be dealt with on urgent basis. To find out if your matter could be eligible for this, contact our office on 1300 444 LAW.