Family Law

Bell, Felicity, '"Part of the Future": Family Law, Children's Interests and Remote Proceedings in Australia during COVID-19' (2021) 40(1) University of Queensland Law Journal 1-26
Abstract: In March 2020, the family law courts, like other Australian courts, moved to hearing proceedings 'remotely', by phone, audio-visual link or software platform. This article examines the particular circumstances of family law cases that likely impact on whether it is appropriate for remote procedures to be used. Giving context to these themes, the article reports on a survey of Australian federal judicial officers about their experiences of conducting family law proceedings remotely.

Bewley, Amanda, 'Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention in the Family Justice System: A Different COVID-19 Issue' (2020) 50(July) Family Law 795-798
Abstract: Discusses the issue of suicide prevention in the specific context of the family justice system and the need for training in how to respond to suicidal litigants. Considers the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the well-being of both practitioners and clients.

Byars, Kaleb, 'Coronavirus, Caregivers and Child Custody: A Pragmatic Solution for Parents Who Seek to Protect Their Children During the COVID-19 Crisis. (Cover Story)' (2020) 56(5) Tennessee Bar Journal 28-29
Abstract: Extract from Introduction: As COVID-19 spreads, it undoubtedly carries with it a host of legal issues. This article seeks to address one of those issues. Namely, it answers the following question: What options are available to a child's parent when the child's other parent who has shared physical custody of the child refuses to take precautions during a pandemic such COVID-19?

Catrina, Radu, 'Family Law: A Precedent for Unprecedented Times' (2020) 94(12) Law Institute Journal 40-43
Abstract: How the family law courts have treated the continued operation of, and frequent non-compliance with, parenting orders in the wake of COVID-19.

Chandler, Alexander, 'Is Coronavirus a Barder Event?' (2020) 50(June) Family Law 701-712
Abstract: Considers whether a coronavirus-related event is a Barder event justifying the re-opening of a final financial order. Reviews the applicable principles through five 'Barder' cases. Looks at a range of possible Barder scenarios arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Outlines procedure for making a Barder application. Offers some thoughts on what to do regarding agreements which have not yet been made into orders.

Doughty, Julie, 'Remote Justice: Family Court Hearings during the Pandemic' (2020) 42(3) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 377-380
Abstract: Discusses Re A (Children) (Remote Hearing: Care and Placement Orders) (CA) and other cases on holding a hearing remotely or in a hybrid form during the coronavirus pandemic, noting the guidance given by the President of the Family Division in this case.

Douglas, Gillian, 'Abduction' (2020) 50(July) Family Law 822-823
Abstract: Comments on the approach in Re PT (A Child) (Fam Div) to the argument that ordering the return of a child from England to Spain during the coronavirus pandemic would amount to a grave risk of physical harm under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980 art.13b.

Foster, David and Philip Loft, 'Coronavirus: Separated Families and Contact with Children in Care FAQs (UK)' (House of Commons Library, Briefing Paper No CBP 8901, 5 January 2021)
Abstract: This paper provides brief information in response to some key questions regarding the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on separated families, maintenance arrangements and access to children.

Fraser, Graeme, 'Family Justice Post COVID-19: The Road to Recovery' (2020) 170(7900) New Law Journal 8
Abstract: Considers the Sixth Report of the House of Commons Justice Committee on the delivery of court services during the coronavirus pandemic. Highlights the backlog of cases in the Family Court and the need for a government recovery plan on how to reduce the backlog.

Freckelton, Ian, 'COVID-19 and Family Law Deision-Making' (2020) 27(4) Journal of Law and Medicine 846
Abstract: All aspects of family law have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has posed challenges for the operation of the Family Court of Australia and the Federal Circuit Court, the obtaining of expert reports, the conduct of hearings, the functioning of contact centres, and the mode of delivery of children's schooling. In Australia and in Ontario an attempt has been made to be clear about what is expected of parents during the period of crisis. An Australian innovation has been the establishment of a COVID-19 List and communication by the Chief Justice of the Family Court about what is expected of parents by way of compliance with orders from chief health officers and safe practices to protect children against infection, especially those with particular health vulnerabilities. This column reviews such initiatives and a number of the significant family law decisions during the early phase of Australia's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Harker, Lisa, 'Children's Contact with Birth Families: Lessons Emerging during the Pandemic' (2020) 50(July) Family Law 929-931
Abstract: Considers how child contact arrangements have been managed during the coronavirus lockdown with restrictions on face-to-face contact. Refers to findings from Nuffield Family Justice Observatory research on the use of video calls for children in residential, foster and kinship care to facilitate contact with birth families.

Hitchings, Emma and Mavis Maclean, 'Unprecedented Times: Some Thoughts on the Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic from a Family and Social Welfare Law Perspective' (2020) 42(3) Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 277-280
Abstract: Extract: The effects of the global health crisis and the strategy of national lockdown to ameliorate the pandemic across the globe have had unparalleled consequences for family and social welfare law. Government policies across the world have been introduced at a scale and pace that would have been unthinkable as recently as February of this year. These have been introduced in order to limit the inevitable devastating economic consequences and have resulted in unprecedented levels of government support for businesses and individuals. Other nations such as France are already in an official recession, and while the United Kingdom has not, as yet, made the official list, there is no doubt that we are on our way. According to the Office for National Statistics (2020), Britain's economy contracted by 2.2% in the first three months of 2020 and GDP fell by 6.9% in March even though the strictest lockdown measures were only in place for nine days of that month.

Key, Aimee and Lindsey Obenhaus, 'COVID-19 and Family Law: What Every Attorney Needs to Know' (2020) 83(5) Texas Bar Journal 310-311
Abstract: Extract from Introduction: In addition to transforming the way matters are handled in court, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a number of new issues for family law clients and their children, which are considered here.

Leedam, Kirsty and Hannah Nicholls, 'The Importance of Habitual Residence in International Children Proceedings after COVID-19' (2020) 2 International Family Law 143-148
Abstract: Discusses the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on international children proceedings, including the extent to which the travel ban may have changed some children's place of habitual residence. Details the factors determining such residence, how it is assessed, and how it may be lost.

Lessard, Michael, 'Coronavirus: Developpements Recents En Droit de La Famille Concernant La Garde et l'acces Durant La Pandemie de La COVID-19 (Recent Developments in Quebec Family Law Regarding Custody and Access During the COVID-19 Pandemic)' [2020] (April) Reperes 2983
English Abstract: The author describes the recent developments in Quebec family law regarding the exercise of custody and access rights during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The developments discussed here are those that occurred between March 13 and April 13, 2020.

Lyon, Fiona, 'The Surrogacy Journey' (2020) 170(7900) New Law Journal 12-14
Abstract: Outlines the legal and practical steps involved in a surrogacy arrangement, including surrogacy agreements, parental orders, relevant case law, and the effects of COVID-19 on international surrogacy.

Masson, Amanda, 'Reflections on Child Law in the Pandemic' (2020) 166 Family Law Bulletin 1-3
Abstract: Summarises aspects of Scottish and UK child law which have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including child contact arrangements and child welfare hearings.

McCosker, Alexandra, 'Family Law: Parenting during a Pandemic: Best Interests of the Child Remain Paramount' (2020) 66 LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal 78-79
Abstract: Family law disputes have traditionally run the gauntlet of not only legal issues, but also the emotional and human elements that so often accompany such disputes. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an extra complication to the lives of many Australian families dealing with family law disputes. How are families to approach their family law issues during this time? The situation pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic is constantly changing, and everyone living in Australia needs to ensure they are up-to-date with such changes as they arise. Given the evolving nature of the situation in New South Wales and the potential for significant or abrupt changes, this article is confined to providing an overview of the issues that may arise in family law matters during the COVID-19 pandemic and does not constitute legal advice.

Ridgway, Phillip, 'Family Law and Evidence: Covert Recordings in Family Law' (2020) 72 LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal 82-83
Abstract: COVID-19 has forced families into close confines for extended periods of time, not only during lockdowns, but also as a result of the work-from-home and home-schooling arrangements which have become commonplace as we navigate life during the pandemic .In March and April 2020, the Family Court recorded a 39 per cent increase in urgent applications filed. The rate of domestic violence has also spiked, with one survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology reporting a 53 per cent increase in the frequency and severity of family violence during the pandemic.Thanks to smartphones, most Australians now have a device at their fingertips which can make audio and video recordings at the click of a button. While the use of audio and video recordings in Family Court proceedings is not new, it seems almost inevitable that family law practitioners will soon face an increase in parents seeking to rely upon recordings taken surreptitiously during COVID lockdowns. It is therefore timely to consider whether such recordings are legal, whether they may have any use in Family Court proceedings, and the various matters to consider if a client presents you with such a recording.

Robins, Imogen, 'Financial Remedies after COVID-19: What Can We Expect?' (2020) 50(July) Family Law 904-908

Abstract: Discusses how the coronavirus pandemic may affect litigation for financial remedies on divorce. Considers the impact of lockdown on courts' procedure, advantages of alternative dispute resolution, valuation of investments, and the possibility of varying existing orders.

Rosenberg, Lee, 'Love and Family Law in the Time of COVID-19' (2020) 52(2) NYSBA Family Law Review 4-12
Extract from Introduction: As New York State gradually entered 'Phase 1' and then moved forward to where are standing at the time of this editorial, those who practiced 'family law' were, with limited exceptions, incredulously considered 'nonessential.' How that was even remotely possible, given the kind of services we perform for families already in crisis, is an absurdity. The bench and bar and their staffs were given short-shrift, and families, except in the most exigent circumstances, could not get their day in court nor even file new actions for a prolonged period of time. Despite the court system requiring special 'Matrimonial Rules' for practicing in this field and the talk of the need to protect families, for some reason, it still feels as if other areas of law take precedence. It seems rare that any matrimonial lawyers are even asked to participate and serve on those task forces empowered to offer opinions on over-arching policy matters that affect what we do and those we represent. Clients and self-represented litigants frustrated--as the bench and bar were--with the lack of access to the system, which was finally and miraculously pulled into the age of technology, could not understand how they were in limbo at home as well as in court. Through it all, lawyers, judges, legal assistants, paralegals, court personnel, with a built-in need to serve justice, still had to rightfully worry about themselves and their own families. 'Balance,' a repeated mantra for some time now, but rarely found and usually beyond our grasp, is now thrust squarely to the forefront- sometimes as a mandate in our own households. And so, as we have transitioned to virtual appearances, electronic filing, and with in-person matters at hand--at least to some degree, where do we go from here and how does this still on-going experience affect the practice of law and the advice we give?

Saladino, Rosa and Suzanne Christie, 'Family Law: The Limits of the "Hague Convention" in Child Abduction Cases' (2020) 67 LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal 84
Abstract: In the recent decision of 'Walpole' [2020] FamCAFC 65, the Full Court of the Family Court allowed an appeal against orders requiring two children aged three and two to return to New Zealand. The case was brought under the 'Family Law (Child Abduction) Regulations 1986' which give effect in Australia to the 'Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction'. The case is one of the first to provide guidance as to how the Family Court might handle cases in the time of COVID 19.

Smyth, Bruce M et al, 'COVID-19 in Australia: Impacts on Separated Families, Family Law Professionals, and Family Courts' (2020) 58(4) 1022-1039 Family Court Review_
_Abstract: Around the globe, many families are experiencing significant anxieties linked to COVID-19. These include health concerns and economic pressures, both of which are frequently taking place against a backdrop of various levels of social isolation. In addition, many parents have been juggling home schooling requirements in the face of radically different work arrangements including the loss of employment altogether. Unsurprisingly, additional challenges and stresses are emerging for separated families, family law professionals, and family courts. In this article - written at a point-in-time in a rapidly evolving COVID-19 context - we reflect on key challenges for separated families in Australia, and some of the emerging professional responses.

Walklett, Chris, 'Coronavirus and the Expert Witness: Valuation Instructions' (2020) 50(July) Family Law 909-910
Abstract: Discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has affected share valuation for the purposes of financial remedies on divorce. Considers the significance of earnings, multiples and assets.

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