Making an Application for Contravention
If a person has breached a Court Order and you want to have the Court do something about it, you will need to file an Application for Contravention.
Before you file an Application for Contravention you should engage the services of an experienced Family Lawyer to ensure that the Court Order has actually been breached and that the person who contravened the Order does not have an excuse for breaching the Court Order.
If the breach of the Court Order is considered by the Court to be a minor breach, the court may not look favourably on you filing a Contravention Application, as courts often consider dealing with a minor breach of a Court Order, a waste of time and resources.
If the breach is serious, repeated or ongoing, it may be appropriate to commence an Application for Contravention.
I have contravened a Family Court Order
If you have breached a Court Order, the other party may initiate contravention proceedings against you. The court then has the power to punish you unless you have a “reasonable excuse” for breaching the parenting order.
Usually the other person would need to invite you to go to family dispute resolution before starting contravention proceedings; however, there are exceptions to this.
What will happen if the Family Court decides that I have breached a parenting order in contravention proceedings?
If the court decides that you have breached a parenting order without a reasonable excuse, there are various things it can do. The court may order that you go to a parenting program.
The court may also change the parenting orders that are in place or make further orders.
The court can also make you:
- pay any expenses that the other parent has had to meet because you breached the parenting order (eg travel costs)
- pay some or all of the other person’s legal costs
- do community service work
- be put on a bond
- pay a fine, or
- go to jail
If the other party claims that you have breached a parenting order, it is absolutely essential that you engage the services of an experienced Family Lawyer at the earliest possible stage to assist you.
An enforcement application is an application that seeks to enforce (or make the defaulting party) comply with the Court Orders or financial agreement. There is no requirement for you to attend mediation prior to filing an application for enforcement.
When would you apply for enforcement of orders?
Courts do not automatically enforce family court orders, so if you cannot reach an agreement, you may consider applying to the Family Court for orders. The Court then decides if an order is required in order to enforce the existing order. Given the complexity involved in Enforcement proceedings it is imperative that you seek legal advice as soon as possible.