Parenting order pitfalls and contravention

Published 08 Feb 2017

Divorce is complicated enough on its own, but when there are children involved, it adds new facets to the already difficult situation. For instance, the parents will need to come to an agreement about their responsibilities and how much time the child will spend with each of them. In some cases where the ex-spouses are unable to agree, the dispute may be taken to the family law court to get a parenting order laying out the terms of parental responsibility and a sharing of time that's in the best interests of the child.

However, this is not always the end of the issue - sometimes the order is breached by one of the parents. Here's what you need to know if this happens:

What happens if a parent breaches a parenting order?

According to Women's Legal Service NSW, when the court has given a parenting order, it's important that both ex-spouses do everything in their power to ensure the requirements are met or risk repercussions for breaching it. Regardless of the ill will between between the exes, it is generally in the child's best interests to have a relationship with both of their parents. Adhering to the parenting order means allowing the other parent to spend time with the child as agreed and sharing the care of the child fairly. 

If you breach the parenting order, you could be taken to court for contravention, which may mean being ordered to allow the other parent to make up the time they missed with the child, and you could face further consequences depending on the circumstances. In the event that your ex-spouse is preventing you from seeing your child and the issue cannot be solved through dispute resolution, you have the option to file a contravention application to the court yourself. You will also need to file the existing parenting orders, an affidavit and the certificate detailing your attempt at dispute resolution. The court will decide how to proceed from there. 

What if you believe the child is in danger?

There are, however, some instances where you may have good reason to prevent your child from seeing the other parent, such as if you suspect the child may be at risk of domestic violence or abuse. If this is the case, you should get legal advice as soon as possible to determine your options. For more information on contravention, parenting orders and family law in general, get in touch with the Parramatta lawyers at Malouf Solicitors.

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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