Contravention of Parenting Orders – What do I do?

Contravention of Parenting Orders – What do I do?

Parenting Orders made in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court place a positive obligation upon the parties to those Orders to take all reasonable steps to put into effect and comply with what the Orders say.

A parenting Order may state when your children are required to spend time and communicate with the other parent or another party. Such an Order places a positive obligation on parents to not only make children available at a specified time, but also to encourage the children to go with the other parent to help them maintain a close and meaningful relationship with both parents.

A parent may be in breach of a parenting Order in circumstances where:

• They consciously choose to ignore or disregard the Order;
• They fail or neglect to make a genuine effort to follow the Order;
• They take steps to prevent a person from complying with an Order to which they are bound.

If a person is in breach of a parenting Order, the other party may file a Contravention Application with the Family Courts. If the Court is satisfied that a person has contravened the Order without reasonable excuse, the Court has the following remedies available to it:

• Enforce compliance with existing Orders;
• Make Orders for parties to engage in therapeutic interventions such as a ‘parenting after separation’ course;
• Make Orders for the children to spend ‘make up time’ with the non-breaching party as compensation for time lost;
• Vary the existing parenting Orders to ensure future compliance;
• Require that a person enter into a bond with or without surety or security;
• Issue a fine;
• Sentence the person to a term of imprisonment;
• Make an Order for costs.

If you are concerned that you or another person may be in breach of existing parenting Orders, one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers would be happy to discuss your matter with you.