With South Australia being in a seven-day lockdown, many South Australians will be experiencing a shift in their daily routines. In particular, this lockdown can create significant challenges for separated families.
According to the Emergency Management (Activities – General No 3) (COVID-19) Direction 2021 (“the Direction”) which came into effect on 21 July 2021, South Australians are only permitted to leave home for the following reasons:-
1) for essential goods and services;
2) to go to work if you are classified as an essential worker;
3) access essential health services including Covid-19 testing and vaccination;
4) for care and compassion grounds; or
5) exercise with other members of your household.
This lockdown no doubt raises questions on navigating co-parenting arrangements. Despite the current restrictions, the Direction permits leaving home for the purposes of shared parenting, whether they are court mandated arrangements or otherwise agreed between parents. However, in certain circumstances, strict adherence to court orders may not be possible. In such situations parents are urged to consider the spirit of the Court Orders. For instance, restaurants or public spaces which were used for handovers previously may be closed. In such circumstances, parents should consider negotiating alternative locations for a safe handover of the child(ren). If one parent is in quarantine or self-isolation, physical contact between that parent and the child(ren) may not possible. In those circumstances, alternative arrangements such as video-calling should be considered to ensure that the child can maintain some form of contact with both parents.
Parents must remember that the best interest of the child is the paramount consideration. As such it is important that despite the challenges created by the lockdown you continue to respect and comply with court orders, where possible.
At Hume Taylor & Co Lawyers, our dedicated family law team is here to help you navigate through these challenging times. Please feel free to contact us for any assistance.
The information herein is current as of 23 July 2021. For updates regarding the South Australian restrictions, please see: https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/public-activities
For more information regarding co-parenting during COVID-19, please see our previous blog: https://www.humetaylor.com.au/2020/04/03/co-parenting-during-covid-19/