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Family Court And Covid 19

1. Are the Courts open?

Following government guidelines, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and Family Court of Australia have implemented necessary restrictions to protect the public. The Court are still operating however all hearings are now conducted via video conferencing or telephone.

2. How do Hearings via video conferencing or telephone work?

If you have an upcoming Hearing via video conference or telephone, you will be contacted – usually via email – prior to the date about how your specific Hearing will run.

3. What happens if I need to file documents with the Court?

New Applications and any other supporting documents can be filed electronically through the Commonwealth Courts Portal. The Federal Circuit Court website has more information on how you can e-file through this Portal :E-Filing through the Commonwealth Courts Portal

4. What if I can’t comply with Court Orders because of the COVID-19 restrictions?

The current situation around the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, and therefore parents and children may find themselves in situations where compliance with Court Orders is difficult.  

It is expected that should you need to vary any Orders, any changes are made in the best interest of the children, which includes ensuring the children’s safety and wellbeing whilst complying to the Orders to the best of your ability. If it is impossible to adhere to any Order, it is imperative that the parties ensure the purpose of the Order is still respected in altering the arrangements.

5. Can I vary my parenting Orders?

Firstly, if you would like to vary any parenting Order, you should try to communicate and reach an agreement with the other parent if possible. If an agreement between you can be reached, make sure it is in writing so both of you understand the changes that have been made.  

If you need help to reach an agreement, you can contact the Family Dispute Resolution services to arrange to talk to someone over the telephone and help you to come to an agreement. Otherwise, parties can also try to mediate their differences through lawyers.  

When an agreement is made, then the parties can apply to the Court to get the agreement finalised through an Application for Consent Orders.  

Finally, if the parties are unable to come to any sort of agreement, you can approach the Court to seek a variation of your Orders.  

6. Who can I speak to for more information?

If you would like to speak to the Court in relation to any family law enquiries, you can contact the National Enquiry Centre on 1300 352 000.   Alternatively, if you would like specialised advice tailored to your matter, please do not hesitate to contact our office and make an appointment with one of our experienced family lawyers.

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