Breaching Family Court Orders

Family Law Court Orders made by the court are binding on all parties. Breaching (contravening) court orders are a serious offence, unless you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, and the Court can make a number of orders in response to the breach.

Many factors are taken into consideration when establishing whether there was a reasonable excuse for a contravention. If you are accused of breaching an order or are looking to enforce a Court Order our family lawyers can assist.

There are two types of court orders interim or final orders and they can cover issues such as parenting, property or both. An interim order is a temporary order made by the court until the final orders are made.

Breach of Parenting Orders

The type of breach and the frequency and severity of it will usually determine how you go about rectifying the matter. This includes whether the breach is serious or minor, is isolated or if there are numerous breaches. It may be as simple as discussing the current orders with the other party and agreeing on new orders or inviting them to participate in Family Dispute Resolution to resolve the issue. Alternatively, you can keep records of the various breaches and pursue the matter at a later date.

The breach may highlight areas where the court order is not simply not able to work in reality or could be from more serious issues such as safety and drugs and alcohol.

Enforcement of Family Law Orders

To enforce a court order you will have to apply to the court to enforce the order. This is done if you believe that the other party does not have a reasonable excuse for the breach and the issue cannot be resolved through Family Dispute Resolution.

Depending on the circumstances, you may have to either participate in Family Dispute Resolution prior to filing the application, or alternatively provide an affidavit stating why you should be exempt from participating in Family Dispute Resolution.

To be successful you will need to prove (on the balance of probabilities) that the breach did occur. If the Court is satisfied that the breach did occur, the Court decide on what compensation is due or if the orders should be amended. The Court will consider the following factors:

 

  • the circumstances of the breach including why the breach occurred;
  • if the breach occurred only once or if there were numerous breaches; and
  • the severity of the breach.

 

The Court can make any of the following orders in response to a contravention:

 

  • an order that the arrangements under a previous order resume;
  • an order compensating a party for lost time with a child;
  • an order to vary an existing order;
  • an order for a party to attend a Parenting Program;
  • an order for a party to pay some or all of the legal costs of the other party;
  • an order that a party pay some or all costs incurred by the other party as a result of the breach; or
  • an order that punishes a party by way of a fine or period of imprisonment.

 

Having family court orders amended can be done by consent or enforced, either way having the right representation is crucial to getting the best result.

We work with our clients to get the best outcome by making sure that their material is well documented and presented. We work to get to our client’s desired result as quickly as possible, whether this is a collaborative approach or through the court process.

Family law proceedings can be difficult and stressful and the having the right advice will make the process simpler and less stressful.

To speak to a family lawyer about a breach of family court orders call us on 1300 907 335 or otherwise complete our online enquiry form. All enquiries are treated confidentially.

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