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Here is a more in depth look at how to make parenting orders work, and what is happening with rental laws and the Family Court practice notes.
Combined Practice Note
Family Court

We now have a combined Practice Note, and the previous practice notes from the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court have been rescinded.

So what has changed?

Most importantly, we can now sign electronically.  See at Point 9 - 

"Documents, including affidavits, financial statements and consent orders, required to be signed under the Family Law Rules 2004 or the Federal Circuit Court Rules 2001 may be signed electronically by the deponent and/or the lawyer on the record for that party, including by having the person signing the document type their name in the relevant space in the signature block in lieu of physically signing the document."

Please note that this does not apply to Divorces.  There are other Covid-19 changes too, you can read about those changes by clicking on the button.

Combined Practice Direction
Media Release

It is a good idea to read the Media Release, because your clients or customers have probably already shared the part of the media release that says "Where there is no agreement parents should keep the children safe until the dispute can be resolved. "  

It then advises the parents to use video conferencing to keep 'contact' going under the Orders.

The Media Release of course says many other things and so it is important to read it to respond to suggestions from clients.  Some things to be emphasised include:

  • Consistent with their responsibilities to act in the children’s best interests, parents and carers are expected to comply with Court orders in relation to parenting arrangements. This includes facilitating time being spent by the children with each parent or carer pursuant to parenting orders.
  • It gives specific examples of potential problems such as state borders being closed, a parent having been exposed to Covid-19, or the pick up location being closed. 
  • If the parties are unable to agree to vary the arrangement, or if it is unsafe to do so, and one or both parents continue to have real concerns, the parties are at liberty to approach the Court electronically and seek a variation of the orders.
  • At all times, parents or carers must act reasonably. To act reasonably, or to have a reasonable excuse for not complying with Court orders, is a matter that is considered by the Court (pursuant to s70NAE of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)).
Media Release
Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020

The Public Health Order is actually a little bit less helpful on this front.  In Schedule 1, reasonable excuses for leaving the house, it cites at reason 13:

"for children who do not live in the same household as their parents or siblings or one of their parents or siblings--continuing existing arrangements for access to, and
contact between, parents and children or siblings"

The above mentioned Media Release from the Family Court invites families to enter into new arrangements for the children.  These new arrangements do not seem to accord with reason 13 cited in the Covid-19 legislation.  Perhaps this is unintentional.  Perhaps it is intentional, so that families cannot make changes (like changing over with extended family members present to 'supervise', or in a public place where the children otherwise could not visit).

It is, in any event, critical that you get your clients to document clearly any changes.

New Covid Laws
Residential Tenancies and Retail Leases NSW

Is there a moratorium on rent or isn't there?  It is still unclear.  We have the Emergency Bill, which gives the ability to pass Regulations, and a lot of talk from the National politicians (who don't actually control rent).  This article posted by ABC News last night still says, we don't know.

ABC Article
Changes to Superannuation and Life Insurance

At a time when everyone should be checking and updating their insurance, some Australians lost their life insurance yesterday.  Effective 1 April 2020 certain inactive or low balances ($6,000 and inactive or for under 25 year olds) now have to 'opt in' to life insurance.  Here is the link to the Bill which sets out the changes.

Life Insurance Bill
Remote work

Have you tried our product with a client remotely?  Or perhaps as part of a mediation?

Here you can see our neutral balance sheet being used during a video conference, which shows both balance sheets together and highlights any differences in red.

We want to hear from you

No really, we do.  We are madly working on a number of changes at the moment, changes that our customers want.  Let us know what you want.

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Family Property International Pty Ltd

PO Box 243, Engadine

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