Published: 08 April, 2020

COVID-19: Border restrictions and shared parenting orders

Some Australian States and Territories have applied restrictions on residents who are travelling across State and Territory borders in response to the Government’s protocols for non-essential travel. Some of the restrictions also involve strict quarantine requirements.

These border restrictions may affect families that have court orders in place that involve shared-parenting arrangements that require children to move from one household to another, across State borders.

Parents and carers are naturally deeply concerned about the safety of their children and how the COVID-19 virus will affect their lives. Part of that concern may extend to their ability to comply with court orders.

These border arrangements are primarily a matter for each State or Territory government, and there is currently no national approach to how parents should deal with this situation.

The Courts strongly advise that families seek advice from the relevant State and Territory authorities about how the border restrictions and quarantine requirements may impact them and their circumstances. For example, there may be exemptions that enable families with court orders in place, to travel across State or Territory borders. Links to each State and Territory website have been provided below.

When crossing State or Territory borders you may be required to provide the appropriate court order, as evidence of essential movement, to border control personnel. Please ensure that you also carry current photo identification.

Ideally, you should have a hardcopy of the appropriate court order, or at least, an electronic copy or photo of the court orders.

If you are a registered user of the Commonwealth Courts Portal, you can access a copy of your Family Court or Federal Circuit Court order from the following link For more information see the page How do I access orders.

If you are not a registrered user see How do I register for the Commonwealth Courts Portal.

If your orders were made prior to June 2017 or you cannot access the Commonwealth Courts Portal, please email the National Enquiry Centre at

New South Wales



Western Australia

South Australia


Australian Capital Territory

Northern Territory

The Courts strongly urge everyone to seek guidance and a great starting point is through the Family Relationships Advice Line on 1800 050 321 or visit the website.

The Courts have previously published guidance for parents on what is expected of them in these challenging times. For more information, refer to Chief Justice Alstergren’s statement. 

More information on the Courts and COVID-19 are available from the Courts’ websites

Please note that the circumstances for every family are different and this is only to be used as general information.