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Parenting Changeover and Coronavirus (COVID-19)

parenting and covid-19

With the growing uncertainty, and certainly in some cases a number of schools either closing early for the school holidays or foreshadowing closures in the future, it may be necessary to quickly consider what the alternative changeover arrangements might be.

If you and your former partner cannot come into contact with one another and changeovers have been effected at schools then it would be worth considering what other practical solutions may be available to you in your circumstances. They may largely depend upon the location in which you find yourself and the services available to you.

At present, contact centres remain open and are putting relevant health policies and procedures in place.  Those centres may serve as a useful place for changeovers to occur and making enquiries before those services fill up could be a very prudent course.

If you are limited to other public locations beyond the children’s school then try to balance the health risks and public health advices offered by the relevant government agencies against the need for a degree of protection for all parties that changeover will be smooth and uneventful for the children.

While it is impossible to define the needs and bounds of what appropriate changeover locations might be, simply some things to consider might be:

  1. Is it possible to effect changeover in a smaller centre such as a local service station, albeit one which perhaps has fewer people than a major travel stop or busy franchise-based restaurant?
  2. Are there other third parties, such as friends, relatives or another parent of the children who attend at school, who would be willing to offer their home as an alternative for changeover to take place, such that the parents need not come into contact but the children are limited in their exposure to public places and the number of people who might be there?
  3. If there are no other more practical arrangements, is it one where you need to have a conversation with your former spouse about reducing the time but on the basis of facilitating a weekend swap or make up time?

As with everything at present there is much to consider and it is impossible to provide any clear definitive legal advice or guidance which would apply to your individual circumstances without first speaking with your family lawyer. If there is any doubt about what your obligations might be, or to assist you in canvassing appropriate solutions or discussions with your former partner solicitor about orders, parenting plans or changes to them, please contact us as soon as possible.

Our family lawyers in Toowoomba Brisbane, Ipswich and North Lakes remain available during this time and will do our very best to ensure that your matter can be progressed but in a way which is consistent with the current guidelines and recommendations issued by the relevant health authorities. We will continue to utilise phone, email, Skype, videoconferencing to ensure that your matter can progress in a timely and efficient manner and help you seek reassurance around the best course for you and your family.

Find out more about our response to COVID-19 and up-to-date information around the functioning of the Family Court.