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FCA & COVID 19 List

Family Court COVID-19 List

Thursday 14th of May 2020
By: Casey Ieraci, Special Counsel and Accredited Family Law Specialist, Coote Family Lawyers

Thank you for your high degree of professionalism and skill.

Can I get an urgent hearing in the COVID 19 list?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on separated in families with increased reports of Family Violence, and previous parenting orders becoming unworkable as a result of social distancing measures.

On 29 April 2020, the Family Court commenced operating the COVID-19 List to hear urgent matters that arise solely or substantially from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The purpose of the COVID-19 List is to fast track urgent cases and list them before a Judge as a matter of priority. Examples of urgent matters that fall within the COVID-19 list include: 

  • Parenting orders where the current parenting arrangements involve supervised contact and the contact centre is closed or the supervisor cannot perform their duties as a result of the COVID-19 restrictions;
  • Parenting matters in which each of the parents live interstate or overseas and border restrictions are currently in place;
  • Where one or both parties have contracted COVID-19 and are unable to facilitate parenting arrangements or;
  •  Allegations of Family Violence that is a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to file in the COVID-19 List, you must file the relevant application together within an affidavit in support (of no more than 6 pages) setting out:

  • The grounds of urgency;
  • The dispute that has arisen as a result of COVID-19
  • Steps taken to have resolved the matter or why the matter cannot be resolved by alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation through Relationships Australia);

Once Court documents are filed, they will be assessed by a Registrar of the Family Court to determine whether the matter meets the criteria and is sufficiently urgent to require the matter to be heard in the COVID-19 List. If successful, the matter will be listed for a Frist Return Hearing before a Judge of the Family Court within 3 business days of filing documents.

This is a very challenging time for many people, with the effects of COVID-19 extending to both parenting and financial matters.   If you need assistance to deal with your matter and want to know whether your matter can be listed for an urgent hearing in the COVID-19 List, please contact our team of top family lawyers in Melbourne on 03 9804 0035.

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