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I have a Court Order. Do I need to follow this during the COVID-19 pandemic?


Yes, parents and carers are expected to comply with court orders in relation to parenting arrangements, consistent with their responsibilities to act in their children’s best interest.

If COVID-19 measures make strict compliance with current court orders difficult, as a first step, and only if it is safe to do so, you should speak with the other parent to see if you can agree to vary your parenting arrangements. Give plenty of notice so you can both work together to find a solution that suits everyone.

For example, try to use technology like FaceTime, Skype or just a telephone call to make sure children can keep in touch with the other parent. Think about additional time with the other parent in the future.

For more useful suggestions, check out this Top Ten Guide for Separated Parents during COVID-19.

At all times, parents or carers must act reasonably. If a Court Order is not followed, the Court will consider whether the person had a reasonable excuse for not complying with Court Orders. A reasonable excuse may include that it was necessary to protect the health and safety of a person.

The Family Court of Australia has some helpful information provided by the Chief Justice, the Hon Will Alstergren, for parents who may have concerns relating to parenting arrangements during COVID-19. You can find this information on Family Court of Australia’s website.

If you're feeling unsafe or experiencing domestic or family violence, you can access information, counselling and support through 1800RESPECT website or call 1800 737 732. 1800RESPECT are open 24 hours a day during COVID-19.

If you believe you or your children are in immediate danger, please contact the Police in your State on 000.

If you’re finding it difficult to reach an agreement with your co-parent, you may wish to try mediation. Further information, advice or referral to telephone-based dispute resolution services can be found on Family Relationships Online or by calling the Family Relationship Advice Line on 1800 050 321.

Alternatively, you may wish to ask the court to vary your parenting orders. Further information is available from the Family Court’s website on the Information for parents – Questions and Answers page.

Are you in a crisis?

  • If you are in immediate danger 

    call 000

  • 1800RESPECT - 24/7 domestic and family violence service:
    1800 737 732
  • Lifeline - 24/7 crisis support:
    13 11 14
  • MensLine - 24/7 telephone and online counselling for men:
    1300 78 99 78