On 26 March 2020, the Chief Justice of the Family Court issued a Statement on Parenting Orders and the affects of COVID-19. The Chief Justice’s statement provided guidance on the listing of matters in the Family Court. It was issued for the purpose of guidance in legal cases and was not a legal principle. It included the following:
Parents are naturally deeply concerned about the safety of their children and how the COVID-19 virus will affect their lives. Part of that concern in family law proceedings can extend to a parent’s or carer’s ability to comply with parenting orders and what should be properly expected of them by the Courts in these unprecedented times.
The purpose of this statement is to clarify that the Courts remain open to assist parties and to provide parents with some general guidance. However, it is understood that every family’s circumstances are different.
These principles still apply. The welfare of children is the paramount consideration.
We now have the added threat of a flu epidemic. It is my view that the stated principles of the Chief Justice are just as relevant now as when they were stated by the Chief Justice.
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