The Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court have established a ‘COVID-19 list’ for urgent family law matters arising from the impact of coronavirus.
For an application to be considered in the COVID-19 list, it must:
- be filed as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic
- address urgent issues
- be accompanied by an affidavit
- be shown that reasonable attempts were made to resolve the urgent issues with the other party, if it is safe to do so
- be determined by the court electronically
If an application is made in the COVID-19 list, a National Registrar will consider whether it meets the COVID-19 list criteria. If it does, it will be allocated a first return date before a national registrar or a judge within three business days, or less if it is deemed critically urgent.
If an application does not meet the above criteria, it will be placed into the normal duty list.
Courts will only determine the urgent issues arising from a COVID-19 list application on the first return date. Any other issues will be considered on a subsequent court date.
For example, an applicant may seek urgent interim orders about parenting matters arising from the impact of coronavirus, along with interim financial disclosure for their property settlement. If the matter is placed on the COVID-19 list, the court will only determine the urgent parenting issues on the first return date. The disclosure matters will be dealt with on a later date.