Understanding the law on Queensland’s COVID restrictions and parenting arrangements
What do South East Queensland’s extended lockdowns mean for co-parents under the Chief Health Officer’s public health directions?
At present, you can only leave your home (which includes temporary accommodation such as a holiday rental) for essential purposes:
- Obtaining essential goods or services, including healthcare
- Exercising in your local area – it can only be within 10km of your home and within 10km of your personal trainer’s home if you are exercising with a personal trainer
- Attending essential work or school and childcare for the children of essential workers or vulnerable children
- Assisting a vulnerable person or family member
- Obtaining a COVID-19 test or vaccination
- You should stay within 10km of your home whenever possible, but you can go further to achieve a permitted purpose. You must only perform exercise within 10km of your home.
Queensland COVID restrictions for co-parents as of the 2nd August 2021 – Update
If you have a parenting arrangement in place and live in South East Queensland, you may be experiencing uncertainty. You may also need clarity on approaching this lockdown if you share a child or children with another person from a different household. The following information has been provided as an update by the Chief Health Officer:
I provide care for a child (e.g. grandchild). Can I visit their home to perform this duty?
Yes, you can leave your home if you provide care to a family member (for example if you are a grandparent or family member providing care to children). Please restrict your movement as much as possible and stay at the location where the care is being provided. Where a grandparent is undertaking that care, they should be fully vaccinated. Where someone is age 60 or older who is undertaking that care, they should be fully vaccinated.
I am meant to have custody of my child during the lockdown. Is this still allowed?
Yes, you are allowed to leave home to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children – whether or not this is court-ordered. It does not include contact with people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 such as someone aged over 70.
Can my child attend school and childcare facilities during a lockdown?
Only children of essential workers and vulnerable children can attend childcare and school.
All other children should remain at home for the duration of the lockdown.
Another part of the Queensland Health directive notes that children are also not allowed access or contact with people vulnerable to COVID19 – for example, people over 70 or with a medical condition that makes them vulnerable to coronavirus.
You can find these rules under Direction 6(n) of the public health directions issued by the Chief Health Officer here.
For more information for the rest of wider Queensland and their COVID restrictions see:
- Going out;
- Recreation and gathering in Queensland; and
- Businesses, activities and undertakings.
How to ensure more certainty regarding parenting arrangements during Covid
Our QLD Head of Family Law, Vanessa Hernandez has provided some guidance for parents seeking clarity for parenting arrangements during these changing circumstances:
“It’s important to have security and clear guidelines in the middle of the pandemic. If people want certainty about their parenting arrangements it is best to get an official court order or at the very least a parenting plan, rather than rely on a verbal agreement.”
“A court order is always preferable because it makes your arrangement clear and gives you both strong legal standing particularly if health orders change, which as we saw on the weekend can happen very quickly within hours. You don’t have to even step in a court to get that legal document but we would strongly recommend an experienced family lawyer gives you advice on this.”
Tips for co-parents during a lockdown
- Consider makeup time for the children and the parent missing out on time together
- Encourage other methods of contact, including FaceTime and video calls
- Read books and help with homeschooling over the phone or FaceTime
- Play video games online with your kids
- Order small gifts online and have them delivered to keep kids entertained
- Send photos and videos on devices
For further advice regarding Queensland COVID restrictions, request a callback via the form below from our experienced and friendly family law team at Australian Family Lawyers.
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