Family law breakdowns are challenging and emotionally draining events that can bring out the worst in people. In Australia, when tensions escalate, an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) may be sought to protect an individual from harassment, stalking, intimidation, or violence. However, what happens when such an order is breached?
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is a legal instrument designed to ensure the safety of a person who fears violence, stalking, harassment, or intimidation from another person. They are especially prevalent in situations of family breakdowns where domestic violence or threats have occurred. AVOs set out specific conditions that the defendant must adhere to, which may include staying away from the protected person, not contacting them, or not approaching certain locations like a residence or workplace.
In Australia, breaching the conditions of an AVO is a serious offence. If someone breaches an AVO, they can face severe penalties, including:
The breach of an AVO can have significant ramifications in family law matters, particularly concerning child custody and property settlements:
Child Custody: A breach can be seen as evidence of a risk to the child. The court always prioritises the best interests of the child. If one party has breached an AVO, it can influence the court's decision on which parent the child lives with or spends time with.
Property Settlements: While property settlements are generally based on financial contributions and future needs, a severe breach of an AVO could impact negotiations or court considerations, especially if it indicates one party's financial misconduct.
While it's crucial to ensure the protection of individuals fearing violence, it's equally important to ensure that AVOs aren't misused in family law disputes:
False accusations can sometimes occur, making it vital for the accused to seek legal advice immediately.
Family law courts often require evidence of any accusations, ensuring that decisions are based on facts and not just allegations.
AVOs play a crucial role in protecting individuals from potential harm. However, in the context of family law breakdowns, it's vital to tread carefully. Breaching an AVO can have significant repercussions, not just legally but also in terms of child custody and property settlements. If you find yourself either needing an AVO or being served with one, it's essential to seek legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not a substitute for legal advice. If you are facing family law issues or have concerns about an AVO, it's crucial to consult with a legal professional in your state.