What should I do if my ex-spouse is contravening parental orders?

Published 19 Oct 2018

Divorce is no easy matter - but in the case of a split with your partner, parental orders for support payments can be a massive help in relieving the financial burden of raising a child. These funds can come in the form of weekly or monthly payments, depending on the terms of your settlement. But what happens if your ex-spouse misses a few payments in a row and is clearly contravening their Family Court-appointed parental orders?

What does contravening mean?

Contravening a parental order occurs when an ex-spouse ignores or refuses to agree with the terms of their parental orders. This can come from underpayment or late payment of periodic support. While some reasonable excuses can account for any incidents, the onus is on the person providing the child support payments to prove their reason for contravention.

What happens if my ex-spouse continues to contravene their orders?

If an individual is found to be in serious breach of their parental orders, applicants should secure the services of a family law solicitor. They can help to open a dialogue with your ex-spouse and try to work out a way around the issue.

However, if the offender continues to contravene their orders, then your solicitor can take the issue through to Family Court. If found guilty, your ex-spouse can be ordered to:

  • Make up time on the parental order to compensate for time missed.
  • Attend parenting education programs.
  • Enter a bond with Family Court to maintain certain behaviours, such as attending periodic family counselling.
  • Pay a fine, and potentially the applicant's legal costs.
  • Spend time in prison, depending on the seriousness of the contravention.

The court can also decide to change the original parenting order, regardless of whether or not the applicant requested for the parental orders to be changed. This variance is to try to reduce the risk of further contravention proceedings in the future.

Can I be compensated for missed parental order payments? 

The courts can, in emergency circumstances, take action to recover support payments from your ex-partner. This is to help relieve any immediate financial difficulty. However, you need to prove that the support payments are absolutely vital to the wellbeing of your child in the short-term.

How do I begin legal proceedings against my ex-spouse?

The most important step to take when initiating legal proceedings against an ex-partner is to seek expert help. Contravention of a parental order causes emotions to run high on both sides, and a family law solicitor can help ensure that all legal procedures are followed. For more information and expert help with resolving parental order issues, contact the team at Malouf Solicitors today.

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

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