Parenting Orders made either by agreement/consent or made by the Court must be complied with by both parties until the child turns 18.
Unfortunately, we have seen many circumstances where one parent chooses not to comply with the Orders. The impact of the breach or ‘contravention’ of the Orders will depend on the severity of the alleged breach of the specific Order(s).
Continuous Breach of the Orders
If there has been a continuous breach of the Orders, then it may be advisable that the Orders be revised as a whole to ensure that the Orders are still relevant to the parties circumstances.
If you and the other parent cannot reach agreement on how to deal with the breach of the Orders, such as providing for ‘make-up’ time if the child has spent less time with one parent because of the breach, then you may need to consider attending upon family dispute resolution (such as mediation) to address the issues in dispute.
If there has been a continuous breach of the Orders, and it is clear that the other parent may not comply with the Orders again in the future, it is important that you consider attending upon family dispute resolution as soon as possible. We address why attending family dispute resolution is important in parenting cases in this article here.
Family Dispute Resolution
The family dispute resolution process is aimed to provide the parties with the opportunity to discuss and negotiate the parenting arrangements. if the issues remain unresolved post mediation, then applying to Court is the last option to take to enforce the Orders.
The process will be through an Application relating to the Contravention, alongside supporting Court documents, including an Affidavit outlining the alleged breach and the circumstances surrounding the breach.
It is important to seek legal advice before filing an Application, as your Court documents must provide supporting evidence regarding the alleged breach.
Depending on the seriousness of the breach, the Court may make Orders if it is found that the other parent has ‘contravened’ the Orders made by the Court, such as the following:
- That the parent attend a Parenting Orders Program or post separation course; or
- That there be ‘make up’ time between the child and the Applicant, for time that was missed due to the non-compliant parent’s actions; or
- That there be a variation to the existing Parenting Order(s); or
- That there be a punishment by way of a fine or imprisonment.
If you are concerned with the practicality of the Parenting Orders currently in place, we encourage you to seek legal advice from one of our family lawyers regarding the options available to you, so that you can avoid being a Respondent to a Contravention Application.
If you are in a position where there are Parenting Orders in place and the other parent is not complying with the Orders, we also encourage you to seek advice on the next steps you may wish to take.