Serious couple is listening to their family doctor, concentrated and anxious, sex, pregnancy, cheating, mistrust domestic problems concept

What happens with my Parenting Orders during COVID-19?

There are a significant number of people in Australia that have confirmed arrangements for separated parents to spend time with children according to Consent Orders. Those Consent Orders are enforceable, and if Court Orders are not followed, then it remains open to an aggrieved person to bring a Contravention Application before the Court. The purpose of that Contravention Application can vary – it could be to ask for make up time; to ask that the contravening party be placed on a Bond, or to suggest that the contravening party should undertake, for example, a post-separation parenting or anger management course.

However, there is a defence to Contravention Applications and that relates to whether the person has a reasonable excuse for contravening those Orders. In a society that is dealing with a global pandemic, what does a “reasonable excuse” look like?

It may well be that the Order that provides for time with one parent will not be followed because the other parent believes that the children will be at risk of contracting an illness. Perhaps Orders will fall apart because they provide for school as a changeover location, when the children are now not attending school.  Orders could be contravened because they provide for equal shared parental responsibility, which one parent fails to exercise in determining medical treatment for a child. Parents may live in different states, and travel may not be possible, or may be opposed by one parent.

Do contraventions of this type amount to a reasonable excuse? In short, we do not know yet. The question may be entirely academic, in circumstances where only urgent matters are being dealt with before the Court in any meaningful way. If it is what I would refer to as a “minor” contravention of Orders (such as, for example, a child not being made available for a telephone call on one occasion) I do not believe that the Court will deal with it. If it relates to a child being withheld from a parent, then it may be urgent, but even I do not know at this stage what urgent actually means in terms of when the Court will actually deal with the matter.

For that reason, when things of this nature happen, it is imperative that they are dealt with urgently. To enable that, it is crucial that parties obtain the advice of an Accredited Specialist in family law. Situations such as these could end up being in place for months at a time, so it is extraordinarily important that they are actioned both competently and quickly.

If you are in a situation whereby you do not know whether an Order is being contravened with a reasonable excuse or have otherwise been prevented from spending time with your time or children, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of Coleman Greig’s Family Law team or one of Coleman Greig’s Accredited Specialists today, who would be more than happy to assist you.


Send an enquiry

Any personal information you provide is collected pursuant to our Privacy Policy.


More posts

SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW releases new strategy to address psychosocial hazards

On 22 May 2024 SafeWork NSW introduced a new strategy to address psychological and psychosocial hazards. The SafeWork NSW Psychological Health and Safety Strategy 2024-2026 establishes new supports for employers regarding their duties in preventing psychosocial harm in the workplace.

roles in the strata scheme
Understanding roles in the strata scheme

A strata scheme is a building or group of buildings that have been divided into lots which can be apartments, villas, offices, units or townhouses. This will be articulated in the strata plan.

Airbnb home
Can I put my home on Airbnb?

Airbnb is a form of short-term rental accommodation. To add your property to Airbnb in NSW, you are required to meet several laws and regulations governing short-term rentals.

liquidators required to seek approval
When are liquidators required to seek approval to retain legal counsel?

When does a liquidator (or the company he or she is appointed to) need court, creditor, or committee approval to validly retain a solicitor to act in a liquidation matter which is likely to extend for longer than three months?  The answer to this question has only recently been settled.

Proposed changes to building
Proposed changes to building and construction law in NSW

The Building Bill 2022 (the Bill) is the key avenue through which the NSW Government has proposed to reshape the culture of the building and construction industry by eliminating poor performance and improving the quality of building statewide.

Dismiss an employee
Can you dismiss an employee who fails to return to the office?

Slowly but surely, most employers are requiring employees to return to the office for at least a portion of their working week. Some employers continue to struggle with employees resistant to returning to the office or those who have an expectation that they can continue to work from home whenever it suits them.

Phoenixing in Construction
New powers to combat phoenixing in construction

The rise of phoenixing in the building and construction industry in Australia in recent years has proved a significant challenge to regulators. Mismanagement of time or cashflow can quickly propel businesses into insolvency.

© 2024 Coleman Greig Lawyers  |  Sitemap  |  Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation. ABN 73 125 176 230