When families are in lockdown
Written by Keri Morris
Firstly, we hope that you and your families are well and safe while we all adapt to the changing landscape. However, we also know that many families are concerned over care of children arrangements during the current circumstances. Lots of parents have been in touch – so we are sharing the most frequently asked questions this week.
Can children still changeover between houses during lockdown?
Justice Minister Andrew Little and Principal Family Court Judge Jacquelyn Moran have both confirmed that families should continue shared care of children, if they live in the same town or city and if it does not compromise the health of their families.
Parents who share care, but live in different towns or cities, should not move between homes. The same applies for the school holidays, brought forward for the lockdown period.
You can find a copy of the Statement from the Principal Family Court Judge here.
Is FairWay open? Can I access Family Dispute Resolution (FDR)?
FairWay’s Family Dispute Resolution service is open and running as normal – just providing mediation via Zoom or phone. We have been using Zoom for parents in different parts of New Zealand or overseas since the start of FDR so we are experienced and set to assist families.
How can I set up a mediation quickly?
If you would like to start mediation or return to mediation, please get in touch with the team by:
Phone – 0800 77 44 20
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Online – online form
If your mediation arrangement is already in progress, please contact your mediator directly.
I’m suddenly out of work. Will I be funded?
FDR mediation, Preparation for Mediation and Voice of Child Specialists are free of charge if you qualify for government funding.
If a parent’s income has suddenly changed due to COVID-19, they will likely be eligible for a free FDR service.
To find out whether you qualify for government funding call us on 0800 77 44 20.
What sorts of things are being mediated during COVID-19?
Here are some examples of topics in recent days:
- How can you work together to keep your children safe?
- How to talk about COVID-19 with your children?
- How can you stick to agreed care arrangements or is there a need to change existing care arrangements for a period of time?
- Is one parent an essential worker?
- Are the parents wanting to share the load more while they are both at home?
- If one parent can’t physically see the children, how can they still maintain meaningful contact?
- How will you as parents share information about your own health - as well as the health of your children?
- If one parent can’t see the children now, can they have extra time later?
- Economic realities – how will COVID-19 impact the family economically? Are the parents worried about job losses or loss of income?
If you or someone you know would benefit from Family Dispute Resolution services during the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to get in touch with us as soon as possible.