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Parenting Arrangements under Alert Level 2

Parenting Arrangements under Alert Level 2

Parenting Arrangements under Alert Level 2

Wednesday 8 September, 2021

The change to Alert Level 2, for those households outside of Auckland, has brought with it new guidelines on children transitioning between homes. 

The key changes for Alert Level 2 areas are:

  • There are no ‘bubble’ restrictions on level 2 households, meaning shared parenting agreements and orders can resume if the child and shared caregivers all reside in level 2 households.
  • While Northland is in level 2, parents and caregivers there should be aware that they will not be able to drive through Auckland for the purpose of facilitating a parenting order or agreement with another shared caregiver in a level 2 area past the southern Auckland District boundary. A map of the Auckland District area is below.
  • Any parenting orders or agreements that relate to contact in the community in level 2 areas can also resume, subject to alert level 2 requirements, such as mask wearing and social distancing. If the contact is based at a public facility, parents and caregivers should ring in advance to check if it is open, or if it has any new requirements, such as bookings.   
  • Note that children under 12 do not legally have to wear masks in the community, nor do they have to keep a record of where they have been (i.e. by scanning QR codes). While children under 12 are not legally required to do these things, doing so is in their welfare and best interests, for health reasons. If your child does not have a phone, then we suggest you keep a detailed record of where they have been while with you. You should also consider providing any facilities you have visited with your contact details so that you can be contacted by them if there is an outbreak.

Level 4 areas:

  • Households in the Auckland District can continue ‘shared bubble arrangements’ for the purpose of shared caregiving. We detailed how these work in our last article: link here.

Shared bubble arrangements between level 2 & 4 areas:

  • A household in the Waikato District, Whangarei District or Kaipara District can have a shared bubble arrangement with a household in the Auckland District. This exemption only exists for these three districts as they border the Auckland District. Districts that are wider afield cannot have a shared bubble arrangement with a household in the Auckland District.
  • While a shared bubble arrangement can exist between a level 2 and level 4 household as described above, it is unclear how this will work. Under the current COVID-19 (Alert Level Requirements) Order, a shared bubble arrangement between a level 4 household and a level 2 household requires both to “quarantine… as if they were 1 home or place of residence”.  How two households in different alert level areas can quarantine as if they were one place of residenceis open to interpretation. It could mean that the level 2 household has to quarantine as if it were a level 4 household. Alternatively, it could mean that the occupants of each household follow the alert level requirements that household is subject to while they are living in it. Further guidance is needed from the Government to clarify this.
  • If you are travelling between alert level areas, it is now a legal requirement to provide evidence of your reasons for travel. You can expect to be stopped at the Auckland District border, where you will be asked to produce this evidence. If you are travelling for the purposes of a shared bubble arrangement, we recommend that you bring the child’s parenting order or agreement with you to comply with this new requirement.
  • Any child or shared caregiver travelling between alert level areas for the purpose of a shared bubble arrangement is not legally required to provide evidence that they have had a COVID-19 test 7 days before their journey began. Workers crossing the boundary are required to provide this evidence, but children and shared caregivers are exempt. However, we recommend that shared caregivers and children otherwise follow Government testing guidelines and get tested if they become unwell, or if they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19.

SHA Article

If you have any questions about how these changes may affect you, or you need any legal assistance, our family law team can help.  

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