As Queenslanders find themselves in a snap lockdown, separated parents are finding themselves in a state of limbo, not knowing where they stand with current parenting orders, plans or informal arrangements. So, can you travel more than 10 kilometres to facilitate the changeover of your children? The short answer is, yes.
YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
Pursuant to the directions of the Queensland Government, you can only leave your home for essential purposes and you should stay within 10 kilometres of your home whenever possible.
The Queensland Government (as of 4 August 2021) has clarified that “all shared parenting, child contact and sibling contact arrangements can occur.”
This includes both informal arrangements such as parenting plans and formal arrangements such as court orders. If you and the other parent have an agreement in place and both parents (and your children) reside in Queensland, you should follow the terms of the agreement during lockdown in so far as possible.
Of course, if either parent or the children are subject to a period of isolation in line with Government directions, then parenting arrangements may have to be suspended during that period of isolation.
If you and the other parent live in different States, changeover arrangements may be disrupted due to border closures. If this applies to you, please contact us for further information.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU CANNOT COMPLY WITH CERTAIN TERMS OF YOUR AGREEMENT OR ORDERS?
You may find yourself in a situation where you cannot practically comply with certain terms of your parenting agreement or orders during lockdown. For example, the ordinary changeover point (such as a public shopping centre) may be closed. In these circumstances, parents should work together and agree on alternative arrangements, such as an alternate changeover location. If a public changeover place is required for the safety of all parties, a default location could be a local police station or anywhere with CCTV.
CAN THE OTHER PARENT PREVENT ME FROM SEEING MY CHILDREN?
Unless a parent or child is subject to a period of isolation or is located in a different State, lockdown is not a valid reason for one parent to prevent their child from seeing the other parent. If you have parenting orders in place and the other parent is withholding your children, there is a dedicated COVID-19 list to determine parenting applications. Should this apply to you, please contact us for further information.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Lockdown is stressful, especially when you add co-parenting into the mix. If you have any questions about your co-parenting arrangements during lockdown, you can give Montana Morais of the McInnes Wilson Lawyers Family Law Team a call.
Montana can be contacted on (07) 3231 0428 or you can email her at email@example.com.