By Justine Clark

23 December 2020

The Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Court of Australia have announced that they will be expanding the COVID-19 List from 20 January 2021.

The criteria for the list has been expanded to those family law matters which have been directly and indirectly impacted by COVID-19 and matters that have had a significant connection to COVID-19.

The process for filing applications in the list has remained the same as in 2020 when implemented during the COVID-19. Once documents have been filed (an Initiating Application and Affidavit, and in some cases a Financial Statement), your matter will be triaged into urgent and non-urgent matters. If your matter is urgent it will be heard within 3 business days of filing before a Judge, Senior Registrar or Registrar. If your matter is not considered urgent, it will be assessed and then listed for an initial hearing within 7 business days. For those applications that have been filed in the list but do not meet the relevant criteria, they will be listed in the Duty Lists as is the usual practice for non-COVID-19 applications.

Some examples that meet the criteria for the COVID-19 expanded list include (but are not limited to) the following:

  1. Parties who are experiencing family violence which has increased or escalated.
  2. Where parenting orders have been suspended in an ex parte hearing (i.e. a hearing that occurs without one party being present at Court) pursuant to section 68R of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) due to family violence and one party is unable to spend time with the child/children.  This usually occurs when one party seeks an intervention order and the children’s time with the other party is suspended due to the conditions detailing in the intervention order.
  3. Where a party is unable to comply with parenting orders due to medical matters. For example, a parent/child have tested positive for COVID-19.
  4. Disputes relating to vaccinating a child/children against COVID-19.
  5. Matters relating to supervised time where contact centres have been closed due to COVID-19 Government restrictions and the parties are unable to agree on alternative time arrangements.
  6. Where the parties are living in different states and they are having difficulties with respect to their child arrangements due to Government border restrictions or where one party wishes to travel overseas with the child/children.
  7. A party is suffering financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and is not able to meet financial obligations pursuant to final property orders, a child support agreement or a financial agreement.
  8. Where one party refuses to resume the parenting arrangement in accordance with the parenting orders after restrictions have eased.
  9. Where a “front line health worker or engaged in other employment connected with COVID-19” has impacted the parenting arrangements or compliance with orders.

If you have any further questions regarding the expanded COVID-19 List or require advice in respect of your family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Family Law Team via email to Justine Clark at jclark@tlfc.com.au or on 8600 9333.

 

Related Articles

View All
Family Law / Family Law Advice

The Merging of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court – what does it mean for you?

The merger of the two Courts is intended to resolve the backlog of family law matters awaiting judicial determination...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

Separating? Ten tech changes you need to make NOW

Often parties inadvertently continue to receive and access information about their former partner or spouse after...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

Spousal Maintenance: Drafting Effective – Applications and Interim & Final Maintenance Orders

The presentation to other family lawyers, as part of the requirement for solicitors to undertake continuing legal...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

Lunar New Year: Good Luck and Misfortune (and Windfalls in Family Law)

As we welcome the auspicious Year of the Ox, some may be tempted to seek their fortune by purchasing a lottery ticket...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

I want my child to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – but my ex does not agree… What do I do?

  On 7 January 2021, the Australian Government announced its national roll-out strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

When can I apply for a Divorce after I have separated? Does a Divorce impact on my property settlement?

There are very particular requirements that need to be met for a Divorce Order to be made by the Court However, if all...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

Who buys the blazer? Back to school child support issues

Of course, parents can come to their own arrangements about these issues and both parties have a financial obligation...
Read More
Family Law

United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

On 7 February 2000, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially designated 25 November 2020 as the...
Read More
Family Law / Family Law Advice

Family Law Court Filing Deadlines for Parenting Applications

However before we close the door on 2020 and move onwards and upwards towards a (hopefully) brighter 2021, it is...
Read More
Family Law

Family Law Announcement – National Arbitration List

This is an electronic list in each Court which is managed by specific Judges depending on the nature of the application...
Read More
Family Law

Family Violence Intervention Orders & Family Law and the Pandemic

The Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, and Stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria, and the Stay at Home Directions...
Read More