Unfortunately, in some cases shared care arrangements will not be able to continue for the time being due to the lockdown.  The Principal Family Court Judge has issued a statement reminding parties that in all cases the overriding concern should be the best interest of the children.  It is important for children to know that they, and their loved ones, are safe and well; and that their parents and caregivers are working together to ensure that occurs.

The Judge explained that “Where there is a shared care arrangement and the families are in different towns or communities, the safety of the children and others in their family units should not be compromised by movement between those homes, particularly if there are more than two homes involved.” 

The Judge advised parents and caregivers to discuss their shared custody arrangements and to try and reach an agreement between them.  “This may mean the child may stay with one parent/caregiver for the initial 4 week period. […] Where children cannot move between homes, the Court would expect indirect contact - such as by phone or social media messaging - to be generous. […] Parents must put aside their conflict at this time and make decisions that are in the best interests of the child and their families and the wider community. This global pandemic should not be seen as an opportunity for parents to unilaterally change established care arrangements without cause or otherwise behave in a manner inconsistent with the child’s best interests or the court ordered care arrangements.”

Other helpful articles:

Guidelines for shared cared during the COVID-19 restrictions.

Resolving disputes via Mediation or attending Family Court during the restrictions.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-priced Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins, we have an experienced family law team, who can answer your questions and put you on the right track. 

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