Coronavirus & Family Law – what you need to know

We are Open for Business

During these times of uncertainty, it is important to be aware of what to expect if you have a family law query, or are already involved in proceedings in the Family Court of Western Australia.

We anticipate minimal (if any) interruption in our ability to provide you with ongoing family law advice and assistance.  Our office is well-equipped to work electronically and where necessary, for all members of staff to work remotely at any time.

We currently file all permitted documents electronically via the Portal, limiting the necessity for us to attend the Family Court or the Registry for this purpose.

Understandably, our priority at this time is to ensure the health and safety of our staff and our clients.

With this in mind, we would prefer to conduct appointments by telephone if possible.

If you insist upon a face-to-face appointment, you will be asked the following questions:

  1. Have you come into contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19?
  2. Have you travelled overseas and returned within the past 14 days?
  3. Are you exhibiting current symptoms of illness, including but not limited to, cough, headaches, fatigue, or shortness of breath?

In the interests of community health, we reserve the right to (politely) reject any face-to-face appointment.

Upon attendance at our office, you will be asked to sanitise your hands.

 

The Family Court

The Family Court of Western Australia has issued a notice to all practitioners with the following information:

  1. Scheduled Hearings & Conferences: all hearings and conferences will continue to be listed as normal, pending further update and/or direction;
  2. Attendance for Hearings: where possible, all hearings, including directions and interim hearings will be conducted by telephone (except trials), until further notice;
  3. Filing Documents: all documents should be filed electronically on the Portal, and those that are not permitted to be filed on the Portal (for whatever reason) can be filed by delivering them to a secure drop box at the Family Court Registry;
  4. Swearing affidavits: if you are unable to attend to have your affidavit witnesses by an authorised witness, then it is possible for you to sign your affidavit and present the affidavit for filing in an unwitnessed format, on the basis that the you will make yourself available at the next hearing by telephone to provide an oath or affirmation by audio or video link.
  5. General Restrictions: if you have travelled overseas within the last 14 days or exhibiting any flu-like symptoms, then you must not attend the Family Court building, including court rooms, conference rooms, the ground floor registry and all waiting areas.

It is possible that there will be additional delays in the provision of family law hearings and services due to the recent community restrictions.

At this time, we are informed that the Family Court of Western Australia will remain open until further notice.

We encourage our clients to take a measured and practical approach in these uncertain times, and confirm that we are open and available to provide services in the usual way.

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