How The Perth COVID-19 Lockdown Affects Your Parenting Orders
In Perth we have been very lucky to not have any community cases of COVID-19 in the past ten months, which is why it has created quite a shock to find ourselves in a 5 day full lockdown.
For many, we are finding ourselves in a stressful and unprecedented time. Our team at Leach Legal are assisting our clients with questions about how to navigate co-parenting arrangements during this lockdown and during these uncertain times.
These include issues:
- Should the child be spending time with the other parent during lockdown?
- What if the other parent is not practising self-isolation or safe distancing measures?
- Can the other parent withhold the child from me?
- How will the Family Court respond?
If there are Court Orders or a Parenting Plan in place, you are required to comply with the terms of those Orders or the Plan. However, there may be some instances where non-compliance with Court Orders is deemed necessary. Those instances are generally due to extenuating circumstances.
During lockdown times, parents are generally expected to work together, making the children’s best interests their priority and allowing their child/ren to continue to have a meaningful relationship with both parents. Obviously, if a parent is required to self-isolate physical contact with their children will not be possible. However, where there is the ability to conduct video conferencing this maybe an option to consider.
As per the latest lockdown government regulations there are four reasons for which you can leave home under the current restrictions:
- To shop for food or other essential items
- For care giving, for compassionate reasons or to seek medical treatment
- To exercise for 1 hour per day (outdoors only, and with only one other person or members of your household)
- To work if you cannot work from home
What is also covered under these regulations is the ability to travel to collect and drop off children, if you have a shared parenting arrangement, whether that arrangement is informal or court ordered. This travel is allowed because it falls under the umbrella of care giving.
You may also travel to provide child-minding services at someone’s home if:
- That person needs to leave the house; or
- You are the parent or guardian of a child and you wish to visit that child whilst in the care of another person or organisation
You should carry a copy of your parenting plan or orders when travelling as this will allow you to confirm the reason for your travel if you are stopped by the police.
The bottom line is for many separated or divorced parents in Perth and parts of Western Australia in lockdown, that despite the restrictions, it is business as usual in respect to parenting arrangements.
If you are worried or confused about what 'lockdown' means for you and your parenting arrangements, the team at Leach Legal are here to help. Please contact us on 9486 9733 for assistance.