Covid-19 and divorce, settlements and parenting matters

covid-19

Covid-19 and divorce, settlements and parenting matters

The real impact on your family law issues

Dealing with Family Law issues is difficult and unsettling at the best of times but even more so at present. With the impact of COVID-19, Australia and much of the world is now trying to cope with a great deal of uncertainty from a health and financial perspective. It’s also added another layer of confusion and unease with anyone going through their own family law dilemmas.

Isolation doesn’t mean hibernation

While you and your family may be in isolation, it doesn’t mean you must “hibernate” your negotiations or court proceedings.

For instance, you can still agree on an outcome and have that documented and made a final agreement or court order[LG1] [LT2]. You can lodge these documents through your lawyer, or have a lawyer prepare the final agreement. It’s also possible to lodge with the court if you are a self-represented litigant.

One method is to agree on your property division by way of a percentage split. For example: a wife receives 52% the husband receives 48%. That formula is then put in place to ensure that division occurs. Further, you can incorporate in your agreement, a delay mechanism regarding the implementation of the Binding Agreement or Court Order to suit your individual circumstances. For e.g. the transfer of superannuation funds in the orders could be for 4 months’ time rather than immediate, to see if the share prices change again and therefore accounted for in an agreement. In any event, you have certainty with your matter resolved.

You both may also wish to delay the implementation of Orders to take advantage of the mortgage moratorium if that suits your circumstances, or delay the sale of the home until an agreed appropriate sale time.

ADJUSTING WITH THE TIMES

Right now, Toomey Family Law and indeed the whole legal profession, is adapting the way we discuss and negotiate these outcomes. This includes mediations conducted via ZOOM or TEAMS video conferencing, which allow all parties to participate in their individual homes provided they have access to a computer, internet and the appropriate software. This type of technology is very user-friendly and can facilitate a number of participants who are relevant to your matter like a joint financial expert. Confidentiality is assured.

This method of mediation can also assist parents not only wading through the very real struggles of adhering to Court Orders against the Government COVID – 19 conditions but allows parents to mediate their way through contact matters to avoid exposing their children to further unnecessary conflict inflicted by those conditions.

A WARNING FOR PARENTS

Since the operational practices of COVID-19 restrictions have come on, the Family Court has made it very clear that they expect parents to comply with their Court Orders and act reasonably and sensibly in ensuring children maintain relationships with both their parents in this crisis as best they can – this includes crossing State borders. Whilst the Court says parents must comply with orders, they must do so by taking into account the safety of the children, at this stage they can travel between QLD and NSW to ensure they comply with orders as set out in the QLD Govt website. Read more here.

Regardless of where you are on your Family Law journey and despite the current COVID-19 social distancing rules, there are ways to safely continue the process to avoid unnecessary time delays and extra costs. If you are unsure or have questions, please feel free to contact us for guidance.



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