If either parent chooses not to follow the Court Orders it puts them at risk of a Contravention Application being filed by the other party.
A Court may find you have contravened the Orders if you have:
- Intentionally failed to comply with the Order; or
- Intentionally caused the other party to not comply with the Order; or
- Made no reasonable attempt to comply with the order.
Once a contravention application is made, the Court will hear both sides of the story and make a decision as to whether there has been a contravention. If a contravention has occurred, the consequence of the contravention will depend on the severity of the breach. Multiple breaches, for example, will be considered more seriously than one or two.
If the Court finds that there has been a serious contravention, they make may Orders including:
- Vary the primary order;
- Order you to attend a parenting program;
- Compensate the other party with make-up time;
- Order you pay legal costs of the other party;
- Order you to pay compensation for reasonable expenses lost because of the contravention;
- Order you pay a fine;
- Order you to a sentence of imprisonment.
But what if you had a good reason to breach the Orders?
If you have breached the Order, you may argue that you had a reasonable excuse for doing so. A reasonable excuse will be determined on the individual facts of each case. However, you will generally be found to have a reasonable excuse if:
- You believed you were acting to protect someone’s health and safety and that the breach occurred no longer than necessary; or
- You did not understand that you were contravening the order.
Family Court Orders are intended to be final and will not be altered by the Court unless there is a significant change in circumstances. However, there are options including to enter into a new parenting plan, or draft new consent orders if the current orders are not working. If you, or your ex are struggling with complying with the Orders, it is best to talk to a Family Lawyer who is experienced in this area. Peter Fisher Lawyers have extensive experience in Family Law Matters and can help you keep moving forward. Lawyers who help people navigate through life.
Call us on 8296 2690.