How do Queensland’s new border rules affect shared parenting arrangements?

By August 12, 2020Family Law

Queensland’s tough new border rules will significantly impact families with shared parenting arrangements where one parent lives in Queensland and the other lives in New South Wales.

While families living across the two states are still permitted to enter Queensland, some are subject to strict entry requirements including quarantining.  The rules vary depending on whether you live in the newly established border zone along the Queensland / NSW border.

To find out if you live in the border zone click here.

Who is permitted to enter Queensland without quarantining?

Queensland border zone residents (who travel into the NSW border zone) and NSW border zone residents are permitted to enter Queensland provided they have not travelled outside of the NSW border zone in the 14 days prior to entering Queensland.

NSW border zone residents cannot travel outside the Queensland border zone.

Queensland border zone residents are free to travel outside the Queensland border zone.

Evidence of a shared parenting arrangement is not required for these border zone residents.

Who must quarantine and provide evidence of a shared parenting arrangement?

These people are only permitted to enter Queensland if they comply with the entry requirements listed below:

  • Queensland residents (outside the border zone) who enter NSW (regardless of whether they travel outside of the NSW border zone or not);
  • Queensland border zone residents who enter NSW and travel outside the NSW border zone and then re-enter Queensland within 14 days;
  • NSW residents (outside the border zone);
  • NSW border zone residents who travel outside of the NSW border zone and then re-enter Queensland within 14 days.

The entry requirements are:

  • Entry to Queensland must be by plane. For example, if you are a Goondiwindi resident and you drive to Moree to drop off your child, you must return to Queensland by plane, regardless of the practicalities of doing so;
  • Hotel quarantine for 14 days at their own expense; and
  • Provide evidence of the shared parenting arrangement (i.e. a court order or parenting agreement).

There are no practical exemptions here for the children travelling into the non border zone areas in compliance with an order or parenting agreement. When the child returns there is as yet, no exemption from return by plane, and user paid hotel quarantine. It is important to remember that the best interests of the child in this situation will remain paramount.

If there is an urgent need for a court decision parents can apply to the National COVID-19 list. Click here for the link to the Family Court of Australia COVID-19 list and its operation.

For parents who simply have a verbal agreement on the care arrangements of their children, it will be necessary to document, sign and date the clear details of the agreement. It is not necessary to engage a lawyer to do this but if you require help in doing so, please contact our Family Law Team on 07 4671 6000.

These are challenging times for everyone, particularly separated parents. For more information about sharing care of your children during the pandemic, click here.