As of Saturday, 26 June 2021, people in Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong entered a COVID-19 lockdown providing that you must stay at home and only leave if you have a reasonable excuse.
Is it a reasonable excuse to leave home to facilitate a changeover?
Yes. The guidelines make it clear that people can leave their home to facilitate existing parenting arrangements for access to, and contact between parents and child/ren and to fulfil legal obligations, which would include compliance with Court Orders.
If there’s a changeover at school or a public location, where can changeover take place?
You can still attend changeover at the school or public location as agreed or in accordance with the Court Orders. Follow social distancing and safe hygiene when doing so and review public notices regularly to see whether the changeover location has been identified as a venue of concern.
Should I still follow parenting Court Orders if I am worried about COVID?
Yes. Unless there is an unacceptable risk of harm to the child/ren you should continue to follow Court Orders.
Is COVID a reasonable excuse to withhold the child/ren and breach Court Orders?
No. Withholding child/ren due to COVID-19 or the COVID-19 lockdown is not reasonable excuse unless there is an unacceptable risk of harm.
What if I need to enter a lockdown zone to facilitate changeover?
You must (currently) follow the stay at home rules for 14 days from the date you left the area.
If the other parent is not complying with their obligations and/or Court Orders, you may be able to make an application in the dedicated COVID-19 list that was established during the first lockdown in March 2020. For more information on this, click here.
You can speak with one of our specialist family lawyers today to discuss the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on your parenting arrangements.