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We are mindful that the COVID-19 epidemic, along with the resulting economic crisis, will place enormous strain on vulnerable families.

There will be many people in the community who are worried about their safety and that of their children.

For those people who have experienced family violence, being confined in close quarters could place them at risk of further incidents.

Protecting members of the community remains an essential service and people should not hesitate to contact the Police, who will continue to respond to calls for help from victims of domestic violence.

Please see below link which provides information in respect of recent changes to laws around Apprehended Domestic Violence Orders.

We predict that the Police will now apply for more provisional ADVOs and there will be an extended period (possibly up to 6 months) before these matters will need to be heard in Court.

Family Law Courts - Current and New Matters 

For those clients who currently have a matter in Court, essentially, the Courts are still open. However, most hearings are now being conducted by telephone or by other virtual means.

We anticipate that some matters that are not deemed urgent may be adjourned (ie, put off until a later date). This may be incredibly frustrating, given there are already delays in an incredibly under-resourced system. However, it is ultimately the decision of the Court as to which matters are deemed to be urgent and therefore have priority in being listed.

Please read the following link from the Court about how matters will be conducted: 

If you are an existing client and have a Court date coming up, we will be in contact with you well before that date to discuss how your matter will proceed.

If you are a prospective client, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our office is still open, albeit most of our staff are working remotely.

Parenting Orders

For those families that have parenting orders, please see this important link to a recent media release issued by the Family Court.

There is an emphasis on parties being pragmatic about reaching temporary agreements regarding changes in arrangements that may need to be made.

The release also emphasises the importance of children maintaining a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Everyone’s circumstances are unique, but in the absence of an agreement, we would suggest that parents seek legal advice before making a decision not to comply with a Court Order.

We extend our best wishes to you and your families with the hope that you remain healthy and safe.

Financial matters 

We also recognise that the resulting economic crisis will place even more strain upon families that are already under pressure.

It may be that your circumstances have changed dramatically (for instance you have lost your job). You should let us know if this is the case because we may be able to assist, either with employment law advice or some other solutions, from a family law perspective. 

We extend our best wishes to you and your family, with the hope that you remain healthy and safe.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further assistance. Our telephone number is (02) 8115 9820.

Carmine Santone Tina Santone
Partner

26 March 2020