Separated parents and COVID-19

Here are a few things for separated parents to think about (amongst all the other things you need to think about) in the current climate

We are all suffering from information overload at present. We are also being forced to think about things that we did not have to think about before the onset of COVID-19. In a nutshell, here are some things for separated parents to think about at this time.

1. Have a conversation with the other parent.

Now more than ever is the time to have amicable and sensible discussions about the best way to ensure routine and stability for your children at this time. For example have you discussed:
  •  Whether the children are going to pre-school or school when they are with each of you? Whilst the schools remain open it is important that you both reach agreement as to whether they are staying at home or going to school. It is important for the children that there is routine and an agreed position amongst both households;
  • Social distancing and what is means? Whilst the guidelines from the Federal government are clear in relation to this issue, it is important for children that the rules are the same in each household;
  • Flexibility in care arrangements to assist each other? It may be that one parent is able to more readily work from home and the other is not. It is important (for both parents) that they are able to continue to work (if possible) and continue to draw an income to meet living expenses for themselves and their children and it is important for children that the parents are able to work together to ensure that appropriate care arrangements are made for them especially if they are not at school;
  • The children’s health and your respective health. It is important to stop the spread of COVID-19 that people and children who are sick are kept at home and isolated from others. If the other parent is not told that a child is sick it is difficult for the other parent to put in place arrangements to ensure that the child is cared for and that others are also kept safe.

2. Have your child support payments stopped? 

Given the current situation it is inevitable (unfortunately) that people may lose their jobs or be forced to take unpaid leave for a period. This will impact on the ability of a parent to continue to make child support payments to the other. If this happens you should contact both the Department of Human Services – Child Support and Centrelink.
If parents have a private collect arrangement and one party ceases to make payments to the other because they have lost their job, Centrelink will continue to assume that those payments are received and will be unable to make any adjustment (if any) to other benefits that are paid to the receiving parent if they have not been notified.

We are here to help so if you have any questions,  give us a call on 9523 5535 and ask to speak to one of our family law team.

You may also find this article useful: Apps for separated parents