Substantial and significant time in a pandemic


Substantial and significant time in a pandemic

Annabel Murray

Head of Family Law – Sydney


Parenting after separation is always a challenge but what are potential considerations in light of COVID 19?
Communication between parents will be vital. Each parent should notify the other parent if they or a child is unwell. Decisions need to be made if a child should remain in one parent’s home longer than the usual arrangement.
Advice from your health care practitioner or health hotlines should be obtained so that you and your family put in place the best arrangements in the circumstances.
If there are parenting orders in place and legitimate COVID -19 concerns – the parent retaining the child would have reasonable grounds to retain that child as being a  decision in that child’s best interests.
Home work and school is a common  challenge for separating parents and the question of children’s attendance at school may be a new source of conflict.
Parents should heed information from their children’s school principal and the most recent health information from the Department of Health and the Department of Education. Both parents should ensure each has access and all necessary passwords for school portals and access to the school website and provide support for their children in maintaining their education in this difficult time. Our thoughts are with those senior students and their families in year 12 and the additional stress they face.
Communication methods for some families might need to be reconsidered – there may be periods due to health and movement restrictions that children may not be spending regular time with both parents, extended family or siblings. Parents should, where possible and safe to do so, facilitate the children’s communication by electronic means at all reasonable times.
For families whose communication was a challenge pre COVID 19 – we encourage them to keep communications focused on the issue at hand. Some families require assistance with this and when they communicate the conflict escalates – those parents might want to consider an app such as “our family wizard.”
For those parents with disputes they cannot resolve please contact us and we will assist you including sourcing quality mediators and family dispute resolution practitioners who can mediate electronically with you.
Our staff have always had the technology to deliver quality legal service and we are confident that we can continue to do so for you at this time.  
If you have any questions or concerns please contact us.

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