Cairns Family Law Group: Keep calm and carry on

Our team at Cairns Family Law Group has received many calls from people who are concerned about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on their family law matter, so we’ve put together our tips for anyone going through a family law matter on how to ride the wave.

1. It’s never been a better time to mediate
While the family court prioritises its urgent parenting disputes, a mediation is an excellent way to resolve both parenting and property matters. It is also more cost effective. Lawyer-assisted mediations have a high success rate. It is an attractive way to avoid the delays and costs associated with the court process.

2. Don’t delay
We have been told that COVID-19 is here for the long haul. Think anywhere from six to nine months. Delaying the finality of your property division or parenting matter could make matters worse. Property divisions are subject to time limits which could expire if you leave it too late.

3. Get updated valuations
Superannuation funds and share portfolios everywhere have taken a huge hit. It is important that the property being divided between couples reflect the current value. Ask your superannuation fund for an updated valuation.

4. Don’t use COVID-19 as an excuse not to comply with parenting orders
We have seen some parents insist on the other parent providing a medical certificate before they can see their children. Unless there is a risk to the child due to a parent showing clear symptoms of the virus, parents should not make time with children conditional on the other parent producing a medical certificate.

If in doubt, seek advice from a family lawyer. For Cairns Family Law Group, it is business as usual. We are continuing to be available to our clients and take on new enquiries through our offices in Innisfail and Cairns and online at our website.

“The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service has set up a drive-through fever clinic for COVID-19 testing at the Cairns North Community Health Centre to help manage demand,” he said.

“This helps to reduce the potential spread of the virus and keeps the emergency department available for emergencies.

“These clinics help to keep people who may be contagious away from other areas of hospitals and health centres.

“People who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and do not meet the testing criteria will not be tested.”

Testing criteria

  • were a close contact or a household contact of a confirmed case
  • had been overseas, including on a cruise


  • work in vulnerable settings such as healthcare, aged or residential care, military, correction facilities, detention centres and boarding schools.
  • live in an area where an outbreak has occurred
  • live in a First Nations community

How it works

  • People must make an appointment by calling 4226 4781.
  • They must have a car and remain in the vehicle at all times.
  • Entry is via Arthur Street, where people will be greeted by a staff member.
  • The windows must be closed at this point and ID will be checked by pressing it against the window.
  • They’ll then proceed to a marquee where a nurse in full personal protective equipment will do the test.
  • Afterwards, the person must return home to continue self-quarantine while they await their test results.