At eDivorce Australia we take this opportunity to acknowledge the impact of the current Covid 19 / Coronavirus global pandemic on communities at the local and international level. We are grateful to our hardworking Support Team who will continue to provide ongoing support to our customers at this difficult time. We confirm we have enacted measures including remote working stations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our customers and staff.
We wish to make our customers aware of the current response of the Family Courts in the face of the current crisis and how this may affect current and future Court Applications for Divorce, Property Settlement and Parenting Matters:
FROM THE FAMILY COURT OF AUSTRALIA AND THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT COURT OF AUSTRALIA
Managing the health and safety of the community, Judges and staff is our priority. Due to the escalating situation regarding COVID-19, and in anticipation of any further measures announced by Government, some urgent operational arrangements will be put in place effective immediately (unless otherwise noted) across the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court (the ‘Courts’).
The aim of the new arrangements is to ensure that all urgent and priority matters are able to be dealt with safely by the Courts, whilst at the same time, ensuring appropriate social distancing is adhered to.
It is important to stress that the situation regarding COVID-19 is rapidly changing and the arrangements listed below are subject to change at short notice. It is expected that additional details clarifying the matters below, and updated protocols (for example, in relation to larger lists), will be disseminated shortly (as early as later today).
- Where attendance is required, divorces will be conducted by telephone to the greatest extent possible, effective from Thursday, 19 March 2020 to the end of June 2020.
- Joint applications – will be done by Registrars on the papers and parties are not required to attend Court. If a party has selected to attend at Q2(a) of the divorce application, they will be advised that attendance is not required.
- Sole applications –
• Court attendance is not required if there are no children of the marriage. Parties and lawyers should not attend Court in-person under any circumstance.
• Court attendance is required (by the Act) if there are children under the age of 18 years. Attendance should be via telephone and parties and lawyers are requested not to attend Court in-person.
o Applicants will be sent an email advising that they are to attend a virtual courtroom and will be provided an AAPT number to dial-in to the virtual courtroom.
Communication to lawyers/parties
- Where there are children under the age of 18 years, and Court attendance is required for sole applications, registry staff will send emails to lawyers and applicants advising that attendance should be via telephone.
- If the applicant is seeking orders for dispensation of service, these will dealt with by telephone.
Conduct of divorce lists
- Divorce lists will be staggered into three time slots per day. Each time slot will have a maximum of 10-12 matters listed. The list will be split between two Registrars, facilitating staggering and telephone attendances.
- Matters will be listed to the end of June 2020, allowing for increasing adjournment slots in July and August.
Up to date information may be found at the Courts’ websites:
Urgent enquiries regarding specific matters should be directed to the Chambers of the relevant Judge.
Assistance, including necessary adjournments, should be directed at first instance, to Michael Raine, via firstname.lastname@example.org or (08) 8219 1641.
General court-related enquiries can be directed to the National Enquiry Centre by email: email@example.com or telephone: 1300 352 000.
We hope you found today’s blog useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any feedback or queries.
The eDivorce Team