NSW Child access / Interstate Travel re COVID19 restrictions

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Misled66

Well-Known Member
26 March 2020
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Orders were made in Victoria. Orders relate to child (teenager) primary residence in NSW, under the Orders visits other parent via flights (premises are 13-14 hours apart by car travel). We have departed from these Orders a few times since they were written, mostly by agreement.

The flights booked for these school holidays have been credited due to the flights no longer being offered. The Orders are all centred on visitation via flights, and the cost of the flights to be worn by myself.

The other parent seems to still expect that I will bring the child interstate to see him. Legally, I need to know what I am required to do. I have offered for us to talk about how else this could happen, with no response. Facts..

1. The child won't travel by itself by long train/bus.. without a parent with them.. due to age, anxiety etc
2. I am physically unable (disabled) to drive/travel more than 2 hours at a time.
3. There are flights I believe from capital city to capital city, so there is the opportunity to drive child 4 hours to capital city, to catch flight to other capital city. If this was the case, would the child need to self isolate for 14 days (the Orders are only for 8 nights), and then same when returns? Travelling NSW to Victoria in this example, then return.
4. The other parent could fly Vic to NSW via capital city, hire car and drive 4 hours to visit with child for 8 nights. Would the other parent need to self isolate for 14 days before the visitation commences? All accommodation places I believe are closed and unable to take visitors. Normally the other parent would book into an accommodation place when visiting. If this is the only way, then I would assume I would need to pay for the other parent's flights, due to that being covered in the Orders? Possibly car hire and accommodation also?

The other parent and I have a history of high conflict. I assumed that because the airline had cancelled the flight, then that would be it until travel advisory changes, but I see today on the Family Court website that visitation comes under essential travel. The child has anxiety about travelling at the moment in any respect, so it will be difficult to get him to undertake an alternative. I am also concerned that if the child travels, that the other parent will use the opportunity not to return them.

The other parent sent an email saying they still expect to see the child on the date of the agreed access.

Any advice as to where I stand? Please and thank you.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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look, you can show (because you booked tickets) that you were prepared to follow the orders. The fact that the flight was cancelled isn't your fault.

Offer dad additional time in the next few holidays. So for example 4 additional nights in July and again in September. Go one step further. Offer additional time beyond the 8 nights missed. So offer 10 nights in total to be sorted over the next 12 months. Put that in writing. If dad wants to take that to court he will find himself looking foolish.

Help me out? is there now a 14 day self isolation period IF crossing NSW / VIC border.
 

Misled66

Well-Known Member
26 March 2020
16
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71
Thanks Sammy.

I'm still not sure about the 14 day self isolation rules. I can't see anything about domestic flights NSW to VIC and reverse.

The child is old enough to travel as an adult, so even though he is under age of 18, he's not technically "unaccompanied minor".

NSW Gov & DOH state:


"The Exemption under Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order 2020 can be found here: Home - The file (URL) you have entered was not found.... The Public Health (COVID-19 Air Transportation Quarantine) Order 2020 requires all other people who are travelling to New South Wales by aircraft to undertake mandatory quarantine in a designated quarantine facility or medical facility for 14 days. "

It refers to those travelling to NSW by aircraft. Doesn't say anything about overseas.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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what do the orders say? word for word with names redacted?

If the orders say mum must overcome flood, rain, war, pandemic to get the kid to dad, then you're stuffed. But they don't.

There is a phrase I use here lots. It is called common sense. If you don't have a long history of finding excuses for stopping the kid from seeing dad, then I reckon this is the common sense exception and if dad wants to fight this one in court let him.
 

Misled66

Well-Known Member
26 March 2020
16
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71
Appreciate your time and response, thank you.

True. Just not sure if having to travel 8 plus hours to take him to a different airport (twice in an 8 day period) is seen as common sense, or if I believe it isn't common sense, I will be deemed to be withholding the child from the father. It's difficult to make up the time, given that a fair chunk (more than half) of the school holidays are already ordered. ie. he has 13 nights over a 21 night period for July, 8 nights over 14 night period for Sept.. I guess Christmas would be better extended as catch up time.

The rest of the Orders are stating the "dates" of the access/visits.. and other info which I don't think is relevant.


"For the purpose of XXX spending time with the XXXXX pursuant to these orders, unless otherwise agreed between the parents:

a.the mother is at liberty to accompany the child on any flight/s she wishes at her expense; and
b.where there are flights from xxxx to xxxx (return) pursuant to these orders, the mother or her adult agent shall deliver xxx to, and collect him from xxxxxxx Airport or from another agreed or ordered location, whichever is applicable pursuant to these orders and the father (or his adult agent) shall deliver xxxx to, and collect him from, Melbourne Airport or from another agreed or ordered location, whichever is applicable.

For the purpose of these orders the time/day stipulated for the commencement of the mother’s residence periods pursuant to these orders is to be the time/day that xxxx is to be made available to be collected by the mother either from the father directly in <<named town/city>> or from another agreed or ordered location, whichever is applicable..."

The parents use their best endeavours to ensure child’s flights are scheduled to allow handover at the times/days stipulated in these orders and in the event there is any delay of more than two hours (not attributable to the mother or father) requested make up time shall not be unreasonably withheld.
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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I like this bit
"The parents use their best endeavours to ensure child’s flights are scheduled to allow handover at the times/days stipulated in these orders and in the event there is any delay of more than two hours (not attributable to the mother or father) requested make up time shall not be unreasonably withheld. "

This is not your fault. This will go for more than two hours. You will reasonably organise make up time... I'd suggest offering dad time outside the school holidays. Let's face it the last week of any school term is a bit of a waste of time. Kid can miss a few days of school.
 

Misled66

Well-Known Member
26 March 2020
16
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71
Thanks Sammy01, appreciate your insights.

I have sent back a response, with the cancellation from the airline asking him what he expects me to do. Will be interested in the response.
 

Misled66

Well-Known Member
26 March 2020
16
0
71
Update.
He responded with "I am expecting you would communicate about this rather than just ignore it. See attached from the fam court in relation to their expectations during this time. I will leave you to read this and look forward to you coming back to me with the details of how you plan on complying with the Orders."
He attached some correspondence from the Family Court of Australia re COVID 19 and Parenting Orders dated 26 March 2020.

Upon reading the above, I have responded with three options:

"..... in my mind, there may be some alternatives and thoughts:
1. That we see if we can find a seat for him on a flight between ... and ... dates... This will include a 5 hour drive there and back twice to drop him off and pick him up. I explained the difficulty we have both financially and healthwise to do such a long drive, and the obvious hazards we will need to navigate.... I am trying to look at it in the best interests of the child as well as the relationship he has with you..
2. That I invite you to come to .... for that period ..... and I will pay for your flight (as I would have for the child).
3. That we extend the date/s you are scheduled to visit the child in xxxx for the amount of days missed as a result of the COVID situation.
I believe the courts would view these alternative suggestions as fair and reasonable in light of the current events.
I look forward to your preferred option, or in fact your own suggestions for consideration before.... xx date/time... in case there are arrangements that I will need to put in place (if available). .."

It's a hard balancing act. If I was in the reverse situation, I'd either visit him and put myself at risk, or be thankful he was safe, and ask for the option to catch up the dates when able, with more frequent facetime/phone chats. He has a weekly 20-30 min facetime chat.. and is welcome to call any time (outside school hours and before normal bedtime).. but he rarely does. The child isn't in the habit of calling him for a chat.
 

Atticus

Well-Known Member
6 February 2019
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I have sent back a response, with the cancellation from the airline asking him what he expects me to do. Will be interested in the response....

He responded with "I am expecting you would communicate about this rather than just ignore it. See attached from the fam court in relation to their expectations during this time. I will leave you to read this and look forward to you coming back to me with the details of how you plan on complying with the Orders."
He hasn't really offered up any kind of solution/compromise/proposal has he ....

I would be inclined to ask again, but this time make it clear that you are wanting him to put forward some clear & workable solutions for consideration (if he has any) .... That could possibly include make up time at some point if that is workable...

In the absence of any agreement, then part 10 of the media release (dated 26/3) he bought to your attention states >>>> Where there is no agreement parents should keep the children safe until the dispute can be resolved. Also during this period of dispute, parents should ensure that each parent or carer continues to have some contact with the children consistent with the parenting arrangements such as by videoconferencing, social media, or if that is not possible, by telephone <<<<<

Maybe offer him that if no agreement can be reached
 

sammy01

Well-Known Member
27 September 2015
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Doesn't appear to be a 14 day quarantine between NSW and Vic.

He'd be made to make a court application if you've given him the chance of make up time and some additional compensation time. WHY? Well that is exactly what a court is likely to do. So what has he achieved by taking this to court?